Aviagen, Inc. owns 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 which has now expired. The current permit application is for Zenith Site #31.
In September 2022 Aviagen applied for “Permission to Operate an Infiltration System at Site #31. If approved by DEP, Aviagen would be allowed 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 allowed to “infiltrate” or pour into the groundwater 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.
In Aviagen’s application to operate an infiltration system at Site 31 they make a big deal about their chlorination system for disinfecting the wastewater from the washdown of the turkey barns before releasing the water 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.
ADD YOUR VOICE! SEND A COMMENT TO DEP BY NOVEMBER 14, 2022
The WV Department of Environmental Protection is receiving comments from the public about whether Aviagen’s proposed “infiltration system” would comply with West Virginia’s groundwater protection regulations; whether the system described in Aviagen’s application would protect local groundwater from contamination by the construction and operation of Aviagen’s second proposed turkey operation on Zenith Road in Monroe County.
If I commented on Aviagen’s permit last year, should I comment again this time? YES! This is a different kind of permit than last time, and the comments people submitted for the last permit “do not count” for this permit.
The DEP comment period for the Zenith Site #31 permit is open until 5 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 14, 2022. (See instructions below to how to send in comments.)
YOUR LOCAL VOICE IS IMPORTANT! Comments made during the first public hearing and comment period held last year helped convince the WVDEP to deny Aviagen’s application for an NPDES (construction stormwater) permit – The only time that Aviagen has been denied a DEP permit in Monroe County.
RESOURCES FOR COMMENTS: This is Aviagen’s second attempt to receive a permit required to operate at Site #31. While the type of permit has changed, the geology and threats to the water at Site #31 remain the same as they were last year. Click here to view Aviagen’s 2022 application.
Click the following links to see some of the comments submitted by Monroe County residents and ICWA during the previous comment period.
- Summary of the concerns raised by ICWA and Monroe County residents at the October 28, 2021 public hearing
- Recording of the WV DEP October 28, 2021 public hearing
- ICWA Comment to DEP, August 16, 2021
- ICWA Comment to DEP, November 11, 2021
- Exhibits to ICWA Comment to DEP, November 11, 2021
- DEP Decision denying NPDES Permit and summary of public comments, March 2022
- Recording of public comments at the DEP November 1, 2022 hearing
HOW TO COMMENT
The DEP comment period for the Zenith Site #31 permit is open until 5 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 14, 2022. Comments can be submitted via email to Albert Barbery at Albert.Barbery@wv.gov or regular mail to:
ATTN: Albert Barbery, Permitting
West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection
Division of Water and Waste Management
601 57th St. SE
Charleston, WV 25301
Comments should include: your name, address, and telephone number and a statement of the nature of the issues raised. You should reference Application No. INF-2022-0003, Aviagen Turkeys, Inc., Zenith Site #31. Comments submitted via mail must be received no later than Monday, November 14th.
For questions contact DEP at 304-926-0499.
MORE BACKGROUND – NOTICES OF VIOLATION
In a written comment to DEP on August 16, 2021 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.
Violation #1: On July 20, 2021 ICWA 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.
Violation #2: On October 4, 2021 ICWA 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 DEP has issued a second Notice of Violation to the Aviagen sites at Zenith for violating the Clean Water Act.
Violation #3: On October 27, 2021 ICWA filed a complaint to DEP that Aviagen was constructing on Site #30 in spite of the fact that its permit for that site had expired. An inspector confirmed ICWA member observations and issued a third Notice of Violation to the Aviagen site at Zenith for violating West Virginia Legislative Rules (National Pollutant Discharge System).