Delaware Center for Inland Bays Starts Sub-Committee After Mount - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Delaware Center for Inland Bays Starts Sub-Committee After Mountaire Contamination

Posted: Jan 24, 2018 5:22 PM Updated:

SUSSEX COUNTY, Del.- The Delaware Center for the Inland Bays is taking action after recent wastewater violations at the Mountaire Farms poultry plant east of Millsboro.

The environmental group has started a subcommittee dedicated to looking at what happened at the plant, if it impacted nearby waterways, and how the problem can be prevented in the future. Executive Director Chris Bason says his group is in the fact-finding, data-collecting phase right now, and only after they have complete information will it take any next steps. 

"I think we will be making recommendations about enforcement actions at the facility," he tells WBOC. "Also about the level of inspection and compliance about what should be going on in the future and ways to mitigate or offset the pollution that's coming towards the river from the facility."

Mountaire's attorney, Michael Parkowski, says while the company has committed to improving their wastewater treatment system, scientific studies show nitrates move far too slowly for the recent violations to be hurting nearby waterways. 

"It would take a considerable period of time for anything that was sprayed on the field to even reach the inland bays," he explains. "If you are talking about 100-150 feet a year, these fields are a significant distance from the inland bays."

Parkowski also says that many other potential sources of contamination--like manure and septic systems--should be included in any research, and that elevated levels of nitrates have been found long before Mountaire set up shop east of Millsboro. 

"To take this isolated upset condition and try to focus on it as it is a major contributor or cause, or try to make a policy issue on it doesn't make any sense because the condition has been so pervasive and been around for so long."

Bason says the new subcommittee's work is important due to the Indian River's role in the local economy. 

"If we have clean healthy water quality, we are going to have a thriving economy," he says. "It's everybody's responsibility to make sure that happens, including Mountaire's."

Mountaire says they don't believe their recent violation caused high levels of nitrates in nearby private wells, but in the effort to be a good neighbor they still offered free deep well installation to residents. The offer comes after the company provided bottled water to those nearby as well. 




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