The public will have an opportunity to comment on a proposed draft permit for storage and land application of liquid waste for C&H Hog Farms before the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality decides on the permit. The public hearing will start at 6 p.m. March 7 at Jasper School District Cafetorium, 600 School St., in Jasper.
The ADEQ is hosting the hearing to discuss the permit, allowing the swine farm to apply liquid waste on “numerous farm fields in Newton County” in accord with Arkansas Pollution Control and Ecology Commission Regulation 5. The application sites are about 4.7 miles or more from the Buffalo River.
On April 7, 2016, the ADEQ received C&H Hog Farm’s application for the permit. The draft permit shows that 630 acres are available on which to apply the waste and could receive about 13 million gallons of waste. Total waste the farm is expected to generate is 2.62 million gallons annually, which includes animal waste, wash water, rainwater and storm events. The waste would come from the swine farms’ two storage ponds, which can hold a combined amount of more than 2.33 million gallons. The farm has two houses that confine six boars, 2,252 gestating sows, 420 lactating sows and 750 nursery pigs. The pits beneath where the animals are kept hold up to 768,145 gallons of manure temporarily before draining into the holding ponds.
At the March 7 meeting, ADEQ staff “will make a brief presentation and answer questions during the informal portion of the event.” This will be followed by the public hearing during which written and oral statements can be given regarding the draft permit. “Written comments are preferred in the interest of accuracy.” The deadline to offer comment is March 17.
Katherine McWilliams of the ADEQ is the contact person for submitting comments and can be reached by calling 501-682-0648 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. After the comment period and public hearing, the state agency will decide on the permit and notify the applicant and those who submitted comments of the decision.
On Jan. 19, the ADEQ found no sign of pollution from the farm’s waste storage ponds in the Buffalo River Watershed after a drilling study was conducted on site. Opponents of the farm fear waste runoff will pollute nearby Big Creek, a tributary of the Buffalo Rivers six miles away.