Pollution permits given to York Co. swine farm, comments considered

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HARRISBURG, Pa. — Pursuant to the Clean Water Act, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has issued a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit to the owners of a swine farm in Peach Bottom Township, York County.

The permit will allow David and Eric Gemmill to expand their existing Belview Valley Farms operation to include 4,400 finishing hogs, which would categorize the farm as a concentrated animal feeding operation.

Zoning

The expansion plans are subject to meeting township zoning and land development ordinances.

The farm will be permitted to operate with 525 animal equivalent units. An animal equivalent unit equals 1,000 pounds of live animal weight, regardless of the actual number of animals comprising the unit.

Hog manure will be collected in a concrete storage structure below the barn. The manure will be applied to more than 400 acres controlled by the farm in accordance with the nutrient management plan that was approved March 13 by the State Conservation Commission.

“Because of the local interest generated by this permit application, DEP held a public hearing on April 5, 2007,” said Southcentral Regional Director Rachel Diamond.

Comments

“The department received comments, oral and written, from more than 70 individuals. Those concerns were considered in making the final determination on the application.”

Diamond noted Department of Environmental Protection’s regulations include minimum setbacks to prevent surface water pollution.

The manure storage structure will be designed, constructed and operated in compliance with state and nationally accepted standards to prevent groundwater pollution, and although not required to do so, the Gemmills have developed an odor management plan.

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