Current Status of Aviagen Turkey Operations at Zenith


Mark your calendars! DEP has issued a Public Notice dated August 31, 2023 that DEP will hold a public hearing on Tuesday, October 3, 2023 and is receiving comments from the public through 5 p.m. on Friday, October 6, 2023.

The public hearing is scheduled from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the former Monroe Motors building located at 400 Main St., Union, WV 24983. DEP staff will provide information, answer questions, and accept official comments. Written comments may also be submitted in addition to comments provided at the meeting.

Aviagen has largely completed land preparation and construction of a concrete pad and holding pond on Site 30. However, because it failed to complete construction within its one-year time limit, Aviagen is now seeking a permit “reissue” from the WV Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). ICWA has twice requested that community review and input on Site #30 be included through a public comment period and public hearing.

Comments are encouraged about whether Aviagen’s proposed NPDES permit reissue would comply with West Virginia’s groundwater protection regulations and whether the system described in Aviagen’s application would protect local groundwater from contamination by the construction and operation of Aviagen’s turkey operation on this site.

Comment NOW: Site #30 Comment and Hearing information.

See more information about Site #30, including permit activity and ICWA comments.


Aviagen is currently in the construction phase of the concrete pad and pond on Site #31. On March 17, 2023 Aviagen received “Permission to Operate an Infiltration System” at Site #31, allowing Aviagen to “filter stormwater and disinfected barn water through a treatment system and stormwater infiltration pond.”

In other words, the water used to clean the industrial turkey operation barns (including areas that would have held manure or “turkey litter”) would be treated and then allowed to “infiltrate” or drain through the soil into the ground water in Zenith. Once the clean-up water is disinfected with chlorine, the “chlorinated barn water” and stormwater run-off would be collected in an unlined pond before it “infiltrates”, passes through sandstone and fractured limestone (karst) and into the groundwater and unknown springs in the Zenith and Turkey Creek valleys.

Although Aviagen claims that their chlorination system will disinfect the wastewater from the washdown of the turkey barns before that water is released into the infiltration pond, the chlorine will only eliminate bacteria. This system will have absolutely no effect on removing any antibiotics, steroids, hormones, nitrates, phosphates, etc. from the wastewater before it is released into the infiltration pond to percolate into the nearby groundwater.

See more information about Site #31 including permit activity and ICWA comments.