New charges against Buckeye for noxious flies

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COLUMBUS – Ohio Attorney General Betty D. Montgomery has once again filed contempt charges against Buckeye Egg Farm in Licking County Common Pleas Court.

The action, field May 3 on behalf of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, charges the multi-facility egg production facility. This is the sixth time the state has filed contempt charges against Buckeye, and the first alleged violations since a settlement was signed earlier this year.

New contempt charges allege:

* Recurring fly outbreaks in areas neighboring the company’s northwest facilities in Wyandot, Marion, and Hardin counties because Buckeye Egg has failed to implement an insect control plan agreed to in the consent order, and ordered by the court in its decision on an earlier contempt complaint.

* Illegal discharge of storm water from a containment pond at Buckeye Egg’s Licking County facility into a tributary of Otter Fork Creek on or about April 21, 2001. In a consent order last July Buckeye Egg had agreed to construct and maintain stormwater ponds adequate to contain all stormwater.

* Failure to comply with requirements for disposal of eggwash and other wastewater at facilities in Wyandot and Licking counties. Permits issued by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to approve the construction of the newer Buckeye facilities had required the construction of an egg wash storage lagoon and wastewater management plan. Buckeye agreed to comply with those requirements in the March consent agreement.

“We cannot tolerate another season of dealing with the issue of flies,” Attorney General Montgomery said. “The last thing we want is a recurrence of summers past where neighbors of Buckeye Egg couldn’t walk outside without being plagued by this nuisance.”

Given the seriousness of the violations, the state is asking the Court to consider the maximum possible penalties, including jail time.

The last agreement between the state and Buckeye Egg approved by the Court March 1, requires the company to pay a $1.36 million civil penalty, substantially change its business practices, and comply with Ohio environmental law. Those changes were to include stricter implementation of fly management to ensure nuisance conditions did not reoccur.

“We said at the time of the last court order that the state would continue to monitor Buckeye Egg because of the company’s history of noncompliance,” Montgomery said. “Unfortunately, history seems to be repeating itself.”

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