Families Impacted by Mountaire Farms Wastewater Violations Speak - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Family Impacted by Mountaire Farms Wastewater Violations Speak Out

Posted: 12/04/2017 15:43:00 -05:00 Updated:

MILLSBORO, Del.- Just days after Mountaire Farms began handing out water to those affected by wastewater violations, those at the center of the issue are speaking out.

Members of the Wise family live on Herbert Lane, just west of the Mountaire Farms plant in Millsboro. Their private wells were recently found to have nitrates exceeding the national drinking water standard of 10 milligrams per liter. Mountaire Farms began handing out bottled water on Thursday. Additionally, DNREC is continuing to work with the Division of Public Health to expand the sampling of private wells that could be impacted by high levels of nitrates.

"Our most concern was our health," says Preston Wise, who has lived in his current home for seventeen years. "We had some people who had some health issues back here and we don't know if this contributed to it."

Wise also says the family wonders how this violation could impact their property values.  Mountaire Farms says they take responsibility for the recent violation and are committed to being good corporate neighbors.

"We want to make sure people understand we are addressing the problem. We are fixing that," says Sean McKeon, Mountaire Farms' Director of Communication and Community Relations. "Phase One is going to cost $5-10 million to fix immediate problems and wastewater treatment upgrades will cost $25 million."

Those with the Division of Public Health say that the actions being taken are out of an abundance of caution, and high levels of nitrates are more of a concern for infants and pregnant women than healthy adults or children.

"I would have really no concerns about adverse effects from the levels that we've seen so far," says Jamie Mack, the Policy Lead and Technical Adviser of the Delaware Division of Public Health. "The way I look at it is this is a concern. It's not an emergency." 

Wise says his family has been working with the state and Mountaire Farms, but now they want some answers.

"We want some truth," Wise tells WBOC. "We want--more or less--information on why wasn't something wasn't done sooner than now. Why was this overlooked?"

McKeon says Mountaire Farms is commmitted to being a good corporate neighbor and doing the right thing.

"We will allocate every single resource to make sure not only is the plant’s waste water treatment system completely upgraded but the neighbors feel they are engaged," he says.

McKeon says Mountaire Farms is also providing DNREC with data regarding the excessive nitrates on a bi-weekly basis.


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