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U.S. files complaint against Buckeye Egg Farm of Ohio
Release Date: 11/19/2003
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ENRD (202) 514-2007
EPA (202) 564-7818, 7819
TDD (202) 514-1888
(WASHINGTON, D.C. - 11/19/03) The Department of Justice, on behalf of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), today filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court in Ohio against Buckeye Egg Farm of Ohio for failing to comply with a Clean Air Act (CAA) Administrative Order and Information Request that required them to conduct air emissions testing at three of its facilities.
The Administrative Order and Information Request required Buckeye Egg Farm to determine the amount of particulate matter emitted into the air at its facilities in Croton, Marseilles and Mt. Victory, Ohio. These facilities have the collective capacity to house over twelve million chickens and pullets in over one hundred barns. These barns emit particulate matter associated with the housing of chickens through strings of fans on either side of the barns.
In July 2003, the state of Ohio revoked Buckeye Egg Farm’s operating permits for violating its permits and receiving nine contempt charges for its continuing failure to comply with a state Consent Order requiring facility improvements to address illegal waste discharges, carcass disposal and nuisance violations. Buckeye continued operations while appealing the revocation and closure orders, but lost the appeals in mid-October 2003. The company must now begin closing its barns starting on Nov. 20, at the rate of two barns per week. Buckeye is in discussions with potential buyers. Any new buyer would be required to obtain new operating permits and comply with existing Administrative Orders and Information Requests.
Preliminary air emission tests conducted at Buckeye indicate that the company emits over 550 tons/year (TPY) of particulate matter at its Croton facility and approximately 700 TPY at each of its other two facilities in Marseilles and Mt. Victory. Ambient air monitoring conducted by U.S. EPA has also detected ammonia concentrations above 1,500 parts per billion (ppb) as a three hour rolling average up to a kilometer downwind of the Croton facility. As a comparison, in a report prepared jointly by Iowa State University and the University of Iowa (Iowa Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations Air Quality Study, February 2002), the recommended maximum concentration of ammonia at a residence or public use area was 150 ppb as a three hour rolling average. Ammonia is also a precursor in the formation of fine PM known as PM2.5.
This testing is necessary to determine Buckeye’s compliance with CAA regulations. In addition, many scientific studies have linked breathing particulate matter to aggravated asthma, coughing, difficult or painful breathing, chronic bronchitis, and decreased lung function, among other ailments. (See www.epa.gov/air/urbanair/pm/index.html). The Complaint filed today seeks to require Buckeye Egg Farm to perform the necessary testing and to pay civil penalties for failing to comply with the Order.