Local News

Problems At Meat Plant Force Wayne County Woman Out Of Home

Posted April 22, 2004

— A meat processing plant with a history of contamination problems is in trouble again. The state has warned the Southern Pride meat company to fix its wastewater system, and one woman claims the problem is keeping her out of her home.

Charlene Wing's home borders the Southern Pride Meat hog processing plant. She is worried about its waste treatment system that runs into a nearby field.

"It's not big enough to hold the waste from the plant, so sometimes it may sit on top of the ground. It may rain and wash over here," she said.

Nearly three years ago, the state Division of Water Quality discovered Southern Pride's drainfield was contaminating groundwater. It ordered the company to seal off Wing's well and pay to hook her home up to city water.

The company complied, but Wing said they were also supposed to move the field away from her home. So far, they have not, and as a result, she is living in a mobile home while her house sits empty.

"I'm just scared that it's not safe to stay here," she said.

The state Department of Environment and Natural Resources feels Wing's home is safe, but officials are concerned about Southern Pride's wastewater system. Right now, the system operates without a permit.

The environmental agency sent Southern Pride several violation notices, warning them to move the field and fix the septic system.

The owner of Southern Pride said he will work with the state to get in compliance. He said he has already taken several bids from contractors to rebuild his wastewater system.

"My main worry is I want to live in my house and I can't because nothing has been done to fix the problem," Wing said.

The state said as long as Southern Pride is cooperative and makes necessary changes in a timely manner, it will not be shut down.

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