Industrial Turkey Farms

Industrial Turkey Farms

Shedding light on mystery barns.

A growing number of industrial turkey operations have been built on vulnerable karst in Monroe County. Who’s watching out for our water?


Aviagen, Inc. has purchased property for two neighboring turkey operation sites on the Peters Mountain side of Zenith Road. Zenith Site #30 received a DEP stormwater pollution control permit in October 2020. The current permit application is for Zenith Site #31.

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In a written comment to DEP on August 16, Indian Creek Watershed Association noted that Aviagen’s Zenith Sites are located on karst at the base of Peters Mountain where there are known sinkholes and blind valleys. The group expressed concern that all neighboring families and farms rely on private springs and wells, and that no testing had been done to determine what streams and springs might be impacted by runoff waters from these operations. They requested that testing be done and that stronger pollution control measures and water monitoring procedures be put In place before a permit is issued. Two streams in the Indian Creek watershed likely to be affected are Dropping Lick and Turkey Creek.

Earlier this summer, on July 20, 2021 Indian Creek Watershed volunteers filed a complaint to DEP with photos showing that sediment (mud) entered a sinkhole near the Aviagen Site #30 on the Zenith Road. After a DEP inspector who visited the site observed the sinkhole, DEP determined that Aviagen had failed to comply with the terms of its permit and issued a Notice of Violation to Aviagen.

On October 4, Indian Creek Watershed Association filed a complaint to DEP that Aviagen was constructing on Site #31 in spite of the fact that no permit had yet been issued. In filing their complaint, ICWA submitted photos showing major earth-moving activity. An inspector confirmed ICWA member observations, and it is anticipated that DEP will issue a second Notice of Violation to the Aviagen sites at Zenith for violating the Clean Water Act.