Local News

Nash County commissioners to meet on chicken plant plan

Posted November 15, 2010

— Incentives to lure a chicken processing plant to Nash County are on the agenda Monday for the county Board of Commissioners.

Sanderson Farms has proposed building the plant west of the Rocky Mount-Wilson Airport off of N.C. Highway 97, promising to create about 1,000 jobs.

Neighbors, concerned about pollution, have registered concerns that the benefits don't outweigh the costs.

Kathy Williamson said she worries about the impact on the Tar River in her backyard and what that could mean for drinking water supplies downstream in Nash and Wilson counties.

“Once this plant gets here, it’s too late and it’s not worth our future. I know it's 1,100 jobs, but it’s 1,100 low-paying jobs,” she said.

The Board of Commissioners voted last month to rezone land near Highway 97 for a potential expansion.


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  • mrpritzl Nov 16, 2010

    "However, they are tightly regulated by environmental regulations." By NCDENR, that's the fox watching the hen house...LOL

    " have worked as a consultant to perform the soil, groundwater, and environmental evaluations for similar plants such as this one. I am confident that the river, drinking water, odor, and human health will be protected around the spray fields and plant." This is the classic case where someone with alittle information is dangerous and obviously not a scientist...they choose the data that looks good and hide the rest.

  • bparks Nov 16, 2010

    fds4444 You left out TKN and all oxidized forms commonly referred to as NOx not just nitrates. Yes nitrates are a concern. I guess organic nitrogen doesn't matter either to you. Of course if you have complete nitrification and denitrification occuring, then we are not concerned about nitrogen gas which would not be measured anyway in a liquid discharge. So you think that ammonia in the air does not cause a problem? Ask anyone near a land application site if that is the way they feel? Go around some lime stabilized sludge that is immediately land applied without "airing out". The facilty worries me less than the hundreds of chicken houses who may not be as careful. If you are a consultant you should know this and admit this.

  • fds4444 Nov 15, 2010

    bparks- total nitrogen (TN) at a plant means very little. You have to evaluate all the different forms of nitrogen to determine which forms might pollute or be a limiting constituent. For example, part of the TN might be nitrogen gas which is common in the air we breathe. Another form might be ammonia which is volatilized and lost to the atmosphere during spray operations. Nitrate is usually the compound that is closely monitored because of its affect on human health in drinking water. So, it appears to me that you have lots of time on your hands and few actual facts about environmental regulations.

  • fds4444 Nov 15, 2010

    I have worked as a consultant to perform the soil, groundwater, and environmental evaluations for similar plants such as this one. I am confident that the river, drinking water, odor, and human health will be protected around the spray fields and plant. However, I do agree that mostly mexicans will get the jobs. I am also from Nash County and would rather see the intersection developed for retail and commercial rather than have a illegal mexican poultry plant. If the local tax paying citizens cant get the jobs, then I hope it goes elsewhere. I have seen the workers at other poultry plants and its not locals that get the jobs, unless its an illegal local.

  • bparks Nov 15, 2010

    pinball wizard has way too much time on his hands and his facts wrong. Total Nitrogen to the Neuse from cities is a small percentage. It is non point sources like this spray field that are the cause of pollution. Check the NCDENR records for sources of nitrogen. Second people have to live in an area, we don't have to raise millions of more chickens in a protected watershed area to make a corporation richer by feeding someone in Russia of China. A processing facility is different than a "slaughterhouse" and what about the hundreds of chicken houses that will feed the slaughterhouse. If you don't think they smell then you have not been to one. What do we do when our resources are polluted or when we run out? Do $9 a year jobs matter more than anything? If we can do this why not pollute more or allow childhood labor? We can make more money! Isn't this the problem. It is all about money not what is right or wrong. For all those who support the plant & illegals, have it in your backyard!

  • pinball wizard Nov 15, 2010

    Thank you kayefivestar and the river rat.

    I don't work in the industry, nor do I have dog in this hunt. I just like the facts. No denying it, the a processing plant can have an impact, like any business. However, they are tightly regulated by environmental regulations. Cities do more damaging discharges from sewer treatment spills and homeowners can surprisingly do damage with fertilizer. If an accident were to happen, I would hope there would be systems in place to handle it.

    As far as smell, it is negligible, this is a processing plant not a commercial hog farm. (I have been to both and had no problem with processing plant, now the smell from a hog farm, oh boy!)

    The "report" by Environment Texas is based on opinion, not FACTS. ET seems to be an extreme environmental group. Yes, the plant discharges water everyday, but it is highly treated on site and not toxic. I am always suspicious of groups with an agenda.(they also want to shut down drilling in the gulf) The state

  • RocknRollDoctor Nov 15, 2010

    The thing that's lost to in all this discussion is the question, where are the chicken houses? Does Sanderson Farms already have enough established farms in the region to run the facility at full capacity? or will there also be an unforseen rise in the number of new chicken houses in the Tri-County region?

    Some mentioned the Carolina Turkeys plant south of Goldsboro. I've been there. It does not smell. I honestly don't think the hatchery, the processing plant or the spray fields will be off too much concern. Elm City is spraying their waste along US 301 right now. My biggest concern is the chicken houses themselves. That is where the foulest odors come from on hot summer days. That and the increased number of stink wagons on our local roadways.

  • kayefivestar Nov 15, 2010

    Sorry about caps, pinball wizard, i am not screaming. I would like to see my area develop, but not with chickens. maybe like the Wilson exit 21, something that will bring people off of 95. gas stations, resturants, hotels, something that will bring in money for our town and create more than 1,100 jobs. After the spray fields have been used all that they can what will happen then. you have friends that work in the plants, i wish you could get some answers for me. our community has been taken over without any of our opions & we really don't have alot of info. We all know that we enjoy going outside & we would like to continue that without an awful odor.

  • the river rat Nov 15, 2010

    Quoted from the station KBTX website:

    "In a press release sent Wednesday to Bryan/College Station media, Environment Texas accused the chicken processing facility of discharging 1.2 million pounds of toxic chemicals into Cottonwood Branch stream. It goes on to claim the facility ranks second in the state for total discharges to Texas waterways. The group asserts Sanderson Farms' discharges have led to Cottonwood Branch ranking 42nd among most polluted water ways in the U.S."

    42nd most polluted water way in the US. That's strong, folks.

  • the river rat Nov 15, 2010

    Another link.