George’s Plan Rattles Critics
Shenandoah Supes Eye Proposal
WOODSTOCK — Mountain View Rendering is asking Shenandoah County officials to allow its Edinburg plant to accept additional raw poultry product from George’s Chicken.
But critics of the proposal say ecological risks may outweigh any benefits to the community.
Earlier this month, the Planning Commission recommended approval of Mountain View’s request to amend its existing special-use permit. The Shenandoah County Board of Supervisors discussed the permit at its meeting Tuesday but took no action.
The board is expected to vote on the request Sept. 9.
Mountain View Rendering, which operates a plant on Rocco Road in Edinburg, is applying to change the “open door policy” of its special-use permit, granted by the county in 2012.
The amendment would permit George’s Chicken LLC, which owns roughly 25 percent of Mountain View, to send its product from facilities in Broadway and Moorefield, W.Va., to Mountain View in an emergency situation. The emergency would arise if both facilities fail.
Mountain View’s current special-use permit allows George’s to send its product from the Harrisonburg and Columbia Furnace facilities. The permit also allows Cargill, which also owns 25 percent of Mountain View, to send its product from Dayton to the Edinburg facility.
If approved, George’s could send up to six truckloads of raw product per day, for up to one week, in an emergency event.
Mountain View’s wastewater flows into George’s treatment facility next door. If the rendering plant accepts an emergency diversion, George’s would need to support the excess wastewater.
Reid Engineering of Fredericksburg, hired by George’s, determined that George’s wastewater treatment plant could hold the additional wastewater, which would constitute about 1.4 percent of the daily flow.
To maintain compliance with Virginia Department of Environmental Quality standards, George’s commissioned a water-quality report on the effects of additional pollutants caused by an emergency diversion in its wastewater.
Reid’s report determined that while the emergency diversion would cause an increase in pollutants, enough oxygen can be added to the wastewater to break down the pollutants.
DEQ has said Mountain View’s air permit would not need to be modified for the amendment, according to county documents.
At the public hearing held in September 2012 for the plant’s current special-use permit, residents opposed to the request complained about the smell emanating from the plants.
“Those concerns haven’t changed,” Supervisor Cindy Bailey said at the board’s meeting Tuesday.
George’s wastewater-treatment plant, on Screech Owl Lane in Edinburg, was cited twice in 2013 by DEQ for violating the discharge limits of treated wastewater into Stoney Creek. The company exceeded the acceptable levels of oil and grease, ammonia, nitrogen and phosphorus released into the creek via the treatment plant.
“They haven’t even had a year without violation,” said Bailey, who said she would not support the amendment because George’s could not indicate an improvement in its pollution of Stoney Creek.
“Don’t you think six loads in an emergency is excessive?” Supervisor Marsha Shruntz asked Jason Janita, Mountain View general manager, at the meeting Tuesday.
But Supervisor Dick Neese said he supported the idea of George’s taking its product to a rendering plant within the company family.
“I think what they’re looking to do is an excellent business opportunity,” Neese said. “It’s good business sense to keep it in-house.”
Neese, a poultry worker for more than 25 years, argued the importance of “promoting our industry in the Valley.” On Friday, he said he believed the bothersome smells noted by residents came from George’s rather than from Mountain View.
Shruntz, who said she was undecided about the amendment, told Janita she felt the environmental risk stemmed more so from George’s facilities than Mountain View’s.
Board of Supervisors Chairman David Ferguson, whose district covers Edinburg, said he would defer his comments until the Sept. 9 meeting.
Contact Amelia Brust at 574-6293 and firstname.lastname@example.org