Concerns Aired Over Planned Nash Co. Chicken Plant

A proposed chicken processing plant in Nash County is worrying residents of Raleigh and other communities because of wastewater that could flow into the Neuse River.

The plant operated by Sanderson Farms would dispose of 1.4 million gallons of wastewater daily in a watershed that is part of the Neuse River basin, a source of drinking water for Raleigh and several other communities.

The nearby city of Wilson has sued in an attempt to block the plan that calls for 500 broiler houses, 24 pullet houses and 48 hen houses.

Nash County officials have increased the amount of money to defend the lawsuit. County leaders are backing the plan because it would bring 1,100 jobs into the area, which has suffered from high unemployment.



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A representative from Sanderson Farms spoke about the proposed chicken processing plant in Nash County for the first time in a public meeting Tuesday. The Sanderson representative, Bob Billingsley, and a panel of environmental and economic experts addressed Nash County commissioners about controversial aspects of the proposed poultry plant.

Billingsley gave a power point presentation about Sanderson Farms, saying the proposed plant won't harm the environment. Chris Thompson with the the Wooten Company discussed an environmental impact statement done on the plant, saying grass planted at the facility's proposed spray field site would absorb the nitrogen from the spray, but said the plant would probably create some bad odors.

Many people who attended the meeting say they're still worried the plant will contaminate the environment.

"We're concerned about the environment. We're concerned about home values. We're concerned about the vision of the future of Nash county. This is a prime location. It's in a watershed area and we need to protect it," said Bert Daniel with the Nash County Landowners Association.

Concerned citizens weren't allowed to ask questions during Tuesday's meeting. A public hearing for that purpose is scheduled for May 10th in the Dunn building at North Carolina Wesleyan College in Rocky Mount.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Tom Location: New Bern on May 4, 2011 at 01:29 PM
    The pollution will be in the form of nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorous) reaching the estuary. These nutrients are responsible for the fish kills that we experience every year in the lower Neuse River (New Bern, Trent River, Minnesott Beach, etc.). Municipalities are already under the watchful eye of NCDWQ to reduce their nutrient discharge by advanced treatment to their wastewater and stormwater runoff. Tens of millions of dollars have been spent by dischargers (municipalities from Falls Lake to New Bern) to protect the Neuse. Much progress has been made in the last 15 years to reduce the nutrient loading in the Neuse River Basin. With the introduction of millions of pounds of chicken litter spread annually on agricultural fields (resulting in nitrogen and phosphorous runoff), the money spent and progress made to reduce this loading will be negated. Get ready for more fish kills.
  • by Bertie on May 4, 2011 at 12:21 PM
    Any intelligent citizen knows beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Sanderson has a terrible track record for environmental safety and worker health, and are famous for bringing down property values and hiring illegals. Sorry people but these are the facts, and if you support Sanderson all we have to ask you is how much are they paying you to post on this website to advertise for them? I hope WITN posts this.
  • by Anon Location: NC on May 4, 2011 at 12:05 PM
    You people should be glad that Sanderson Farms wants to come to your area. Think of all the jobs that will come with it. My husband has worked for their competitor for over 25 years and sure it does smell sometimes but as far as the water goes, if it is like where my husband works, the waste water is clean enough to drink. Sanderson farms is one of the top poultry producers in the country and they have strict guidelines for the waste water treatment.
  • by suzyq Location: DC on May 4, 2011 at 09:30 AM
    Amen, Roy!!!!
  • by jack on May 4, 2011 at 08:25 AM
    lets see people will ignore the unemployment rate and the resulting drinking, family abuse, crime and other social ills but do not fool around with my "watershed" we are so narrow minded in this country
  • by Roy Location: Winterville on May 4, 2011 at 08:07 AM
    Once again Eastern NC gets dumped on. Twenty years ago big pork, moved in and destroyed the quality of life and environment in many communities. Now it is big chickens turn. If you do not believe this just ride thur Duplin County. Completely destroyed the quality of life in a rural county.
    • reply
      by me on May 4, 2011 at 11:21 AM in reply to Roy
      i live in duplin county, where is this quality of life destroyed you are talking about??? i live right by some hog farms and they don't affect me one bit, a little smell now and then but its still good ole country living out here! sanderson farms would be a great addition to any community! they need the jobs! if they are too dumb to figure that out, bring sanderson farms to another county and let them benefit from the economy boost!
  • by Old Man Location: Down East on May 4, 2011 at 04:20 AM
    Did you know that our goverment, our city and town council is made up of exactly what the majority of the voting public ask for. Are you part of that voting public? Our country is in exactly the shape the majority of the voting public wanted. Makes you think.
  • by fred Location: rckymt on May 4, 2011 at 12:05 AM
    I thought most of the water around here flowed to the east. Last time I looked raleigh was to the west. Get over it people , they will probably have to treat their wastewater before they release it.
    • reply
      by Boats on May 4, 2011 at 01:47 AM in reply to fred
      You're wrong. Water flows to the south east, money flows to the north and west.
  • by kyle Location: winterville on Apr 27, 2011 at 05:30 AM
    "the area is in a watershed, and we need to protect it". Would someone please point out any area of land that isn't part of a watershed.
  • by pete Location: grifton on Apr 26, 2011 at 08:17 PM
    Go for it sanderson farms,I can't see it from my house.Come to think of it I can't smell it either.
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