Next week could be a big week in the ongoing fight to protect the Buffalo River from pollution from a factory hog feeding operation in Mount Judea next to a major tributary to the river.
Tests so far have indicated potential leakage of hog waste into the porous ground below and, thus perhaps, it poses a threat to migrate into the waterways. The 6,500-swine feeding operation produces waste equivalent to that of a city of 30,000, critics contend.
Next week, the Arkansas Pollution Control and Ecology Commission will hear from the research team funded by then-Gov. Mike Beebe to study the issue. The question, as put by the Buffalo River Coalition working to protect the river: whether it will conduct further investigation into whether a “major fracture and movement of waste” exists beneath the waste ponds at the C&H Hog Farms in Mt. Judea.
The Coalition has a press conference after the Commission meeting. They fear, I believe, that agricultural industry pressure will discourage the research team from further investigation. Said the coalition:
The BRC will respond to BCRET’s presentation at the meeting, and comment on the importance of conducting exploratory drilling that would definitively confirm or disprove results of Electrical Resistivity Imaging (ERI) testing completed in March 2015 — results interpreted by numerous geophysical experts as possible or likely swine waste discharge and which should be further investigated. These testing results were brought to light through emails obtained by the BRC through the Freedom of Information Act.
The Commission meets next Friday at the North Little Rock offices of the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality. Meeting details here.