Local News

State Initiates Plan to Take the Stink Out of Livestock Farms

Posted June 2, 1999

— For years, people living near livestock farms in North Carolina have complained about the bad odors coming from their neighbors' property. This week, the state launched a new program to do something about it.

Charles Alvarez, and inspectors across the state, have a new weapon to fight the smell coming from farms.

Inspectors have always looked at environmental risks. Now they are thinking about stink.

"We're looking to see how they move their waste into the lagoons, and how they move their waste into the fields for spray irrigation, to make sure that any odors that may be from the operation have been limited," Alvarez said.

Inspectors are not the only ones filling out checklists. Neighbors who have complained about farm odors over the years now have logbooks where they note the date, time, and wind direction of the smell to try and identify the operation causing the problem.

"It's a deathly, sickening, smothering stink," one neighbor said. "I don't know where it's coming from. I can't name any farms or anything because I have them all around me."

Some logbook owners are worried about reprisals from their farm owning neighbors.

Alvarez says logbook families and the farmers both have a responsibility in addressing the problem.

"A lot of these are very common sense measures that many farmers have taken upon themselves to go ahead and do," he said. "They may not have all of the checklist done when we do the inspection, but certainly they are working in that direction."

Just the threat of broader inspections may be working. Odor complaints have gone down since the new rules were announced.

The odor control checks are done as part of the livestock farms' annual inspections. Inspectors can also be called out if a neighbor complains about the smell coming from a farm.

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