The Republic Masthead

Letter: Farm potential negative impact to community


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From: Ann Kilby

Columbus

To the editor:

As a resident in the city of Columbus, I am writing this letter to express my opposition to the Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation proposed to be built on County Road 200N in eastern Bartholomew County.

This CAFO would affect all of the residents of Bartholomew County, including those in the city of Columbus. The negative impacts of such an operation on our community can include but are not limited to air pollution, property value decrease, increased health care costs for those near the operation and those near the waste application sites, an upset in the normal balance of nutrients in the environment and water pollution.

An operation of this size will produce more waste in one year than the entire city of Columbus produces. The concentration of waste from these animals increases the potential to impact not only air and land quality but also water quality.

Water pollution is possible at virtually any point in a CAFO’s operation. Unlike the waste that the city produces, this waste is not processed through a treatment facility to reduce disease-causing pathogens, nor to remove chemicals, pharmaceuticals, heavy metals or other pollutants. The waste will be stored in pits near the Fall Branch watershed, where a containment failure could cause the waste to leech into the ground around it.

The procedure for disposing of the untreated waste is equally problematic. The disposal method is to either spread it or inject it in fields that are owned by the facility. Where will it go? In various locations in the county, including farmland west of town and near the airport.

It is likely that the sheer volume of waste applied will overwhelm the ability of the land to absorb it and thus has the potential to enter the surface water. The injection method of application does little to reduce these possibilities, rather it can lead to a quicker travel time through soil and thus pollute the groundwater faster.

All of these factors can lead to increased human health risk and rising costs in our community. Virtually every study done on the subject has confirmed the inevitable negative community and environmental impacts of CAFOs.

In conclusion my concern with the potential negative environmental and economic impacts and the decline in the quality of life we currently enjoy in both Columbus and Bartholomew County leads me to oppose the construction of this CAFO in our community.

I urge anyone who is concerned about this proposed facility to respectfully contact the Board of Commissioners and the City Council to voice your concern.

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