Class Action Lawsuit Experts Discuss Their Issues With Mountaire - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Class Action Lawsuit Experts Discuss Their Issues With Mountaire Farms Addressed in Lawsuit

Posted: Jun 13, 2018 7:33 PM Updated:

MILLSBORO, Del.- On behalf of hundreds of clients, the law firm Baird, Mandalas & Brockstedt LLC officially filed a class action suit against Mountaire Farms in Delaware Supreme Court on Wednesday morning.

After filing their lawsuit, attorney Chase Brockstedt hosted a news conference with his legal team, experts and clients to discuss the details.  Brockstedt says this class action suit is unlike others because it provides expert reports early on.  Normally expert testimonies are not given until later in the legal process. 

Six of the 15 expert reports are included in the lawsuit filed.  The six testimonies include experts ranging in fields from wastewater spray irrigation to public health.  Dane Bauer is a wastewater spray irrigation expert who claims Mountaire Farms is wrongfully spray irrigating their fields every day. 

"It's as simple as no farmer waters when you don't need to water a crop. And you don't fertilize a crop if it doesn't need to be fertilized. They're watering and fertilizing all the time," Bauer said. 

He says the excess irrigation is causing contamination for not only the groundwater, but also the soil. 

"Because it's sand it just pours right through it, which means the nitrogen pours right through it because the soils to not mind up the nitrogen and if you're irrigating it when the crops aren't uptaking, it's all going into the groundwater," Bauer said. 

But according to the poultry company's DNREC permit, the daily irrigation is permitted. Chief Environmental Expert Roger Truitt says 2 to 3 million gallons of wastewater irrigation is sprayed onto fields every day. And an additional two to three million gallons of sludge disposal is dispersed onto sites every year. 

"In the forest they just have a truck with a spray rig on it and just let it go into the trees. On the fields they put different kinds of sludge, some of it is injected shallowly within the top six inches. Other sludge that's thicker they just spread on the top of the field," Truitt said. 

The lawsuit's experts claim groundwater travel is estimated at up to 500 feet per year. But Mountaire Farms disagrees with that claim.  In a previous statement to WBOC the company said groundwater could only travel 50-150 feet per year. 

In a statement to WBOC this afternoon, Mountaire said in part "We fully anticipate that the complaint will assert claims based on thinly researched and hastily prepared reports by paid "experts" that will collapse under careful scrutiny."

The company's full statement is available here

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