Delaware: Appeal Filed Against DNREC-Approved Remediation Plan for Allen Harim Facility

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 17, 2014

Media Contacts: Cindy Winton (302) 934-8050 or Maria Payans (717)  826-7286

Appeal Filed Against DNREC-Approved Remediation Plan for Allen Harim Facility

Local groups charge State-determined remedial order violates the statutory, regulatory requirements

Today, the organizations Protecting our Indian River and Inland Bays Foundation filed an appeal with the Delaware Environmental Appeals Board regarding the proposed controversial South Korean-owned Allen Harim poultry processing plant in Millsboro, Delaware.  The appeal challenges the December 24, 2013 Order of the Secretary of the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (No. 2013-WH-0061) which approves a proposed remedial action plan at the site of the town’s former Vlasic pickle plant — a currently contaminated Brownfield’s site.

The appeal was filed by Ken Kristl, Esq. and the Widener Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic.  The Widener Clinic provides representation and legal assistance to public interest organizations and individuals on environmental matters in Delaware and other Mid-Atlantic states.

We are seeking to reverse the order,  said Cindy Wilton, a founding member of Protecting our Indian River.   The remediation plan that DNREC proposed misses the mark on so many levels that they simply need to go back to the drawing board and make solid, fair, realistic plans for reviving that site. 

According to the appeal, the remedial plan determined by the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) was flawed in several key elements, including:

  • The failure to characterize adequately the hazardous substances on or emanating from the site.   This includes the failures to sample in areas of known or suspected areas of contamination, consider all data about the site, and determine potential and actual offsite impacts.
  • The failure to evaluate properly the risks created by the hazardous substances on or emanating from the site.  This includes the failure to consider known or suspected risks at the site, develop sufficient data to conduct an adequate risk assessment, have adequate data to support the risk assessment actually conducted, and determine risks from potential and actual offsite impacts.
  • The failure to impose a remedy that reduces and/or eliminates the impacts and risks of the hazardous substances on or emanating from the site.

Numerous experts submitted testimony at the December 17, 2013 remediation plan hearing concerning the current Brownfield site that is set to be converted into a poultry processing plant for 104 million birds per year.

Expert testimony by Socially Responsible Agricultural Project (SRAP) engineer and factory farm authority Kathy Martin highlighted flaws in the on-site testing, particularly from the waste water treatment plant.   SRAP’s Genell Pridgen also provided written comment on arsenic and cobalt findings in the site investigation.   Inland Bays Foundation’s science coordinator John Austin, a 33-year veteran of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, presented testimony denouncing the DNREC’s proposed monitoring plan as inadequate.   There was no testing offsite to private wells, which has been reiterated by the community and various experts as inadequate to ensure protection of water wells and public health.

This was a missed opportunity by DNREC to do things the right way,  said SRAP’s Maria Payan. Community health and environmental stability were back-burnered in favor of a quick fix that was no fix at all.   This process should start again, and this time the citizens of Sussex County need to be respected and protected by its government agencies 

 

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About Protecting Our Indian River

Protecting Our Indian River was formed by group of concerned residents to oppose the proposed siting of the Allen Harim Chicken Processing Plant along the Indian River in Millsboro, Delaware.   We are concerned about the safety and protection of our local and regional community health, air, water, wetlands and property value in the face of the unprecedented waste, pollution, odors and traffic the will be generated by the Harim facility.  For more information about Protecting Our Indian River, please go to www.protectingourindianriver.com.

 

About Socially Responsible Agricultural Project (SRAP)

Socially Responsible Agricultural Project provides free, professional assistance to communities working to protect themselves from factory farms and their impact on local communities and populations, and to those who are trying to reclaim agriculture by producing and marketing sustainable agricultural goods.   More information can be found at www.sraproject.org.