EPA taking Buckeye Egg to court


WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Justice filed a complaint Nov. 19 in the U.S. District Court in Ohio against Buckeye Egg Farm of Ohio for failing to test air emissions at three of its facilities.

The complaint was filed on behalf of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Details. It states the egg producer failed to comply with a Clean Air Act Administrative Order and Information Request that required Buckeye Egg Farm to determine the amount of particulate matter emitted into the air at its facilities in Croton, Marseilles and Mount Victory, Ohio.

These facilities have the collective capacity to house over 12 million chickens and pullets in more than 100 barns.

The EPA is asking the court to require Buckeye Egg Farm to perform the testing and to pay civil penalties for failing to comply with the order.

Barns to close. In July 2003, 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 was to start closing its barns starting Nov. 20, at the rate of two barns per week.

New owner not off hook. 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.

EPA monitoring. Preliminary air emission tests conducted at Buckeye indicate that the company emits more than 550 tons/year of particulate matter at its Croton facility and approximately 700 tons/year at each of its other two facilities in Marseilles and Mount 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, the recommended maximum concentration of ammonia at a residence or public use area was 150 ppb as a three-hour rolling average.


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