Perdue, poultry farm contributed to Chesapeake Bay “dead zones”; suit filed

Legal News for Maryland Environmental Attorneys. A lawsuit was filed against Perdue Farms and a Berlin, MD farm in regards to bacterial runoff.

Environmental attorney alerts- Lawsuit filed against Perdue farms, poultry farm, regarding erroneous waste management practices that pollute the Chesapeake Bay.

Berlin, MD (News)—A lawsuit has been filed against Perdue Farms and a poultry farm where Perdue chickens are raised, alleging the farms’ lack of sufficient waste management techniques have contributed to the “dead zones” in Chesapeake Bay. Environmental advocates at Assateague Coastal Trust (ACT) filed the suit on Tuesday, March 2, 2010. Animal manure runoff was deemed to be the culprit responsible for approximately 25 percent of the nitrogen and phosphorus pollution contributing to “dead zones” in the Chesapeake Bay, according to information provided by the Washington Post.

The lawsuit allegedly claims, “Water flowing off the farm near Berlin, Md., carries high levels of bacteria, as well as pollutants blamed for the Chesapeake’s “dead zones”. It is also believed that chicken manure, piled up near ditches on the farm, can run off into the Chesapeake Bay during rainy weather. However, when officials from the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) investigated the Berlin farm, owned by Alan and Kristin Hudson, the pile of waste found on the property consisted of treated human sewage, used as fertilizer, rather than the suspected chicken manure. On the other hand, an MDE spokesperson stated that the agency did in fact discover excessive levels of bacteria in ditches draining from the farm to the Pocomoke River.

The suit requested that the farm be required to pay “fines of $37,500 for each day that the farm violated the federal Clean Water Act”, citing at least eight days in which damages could allegedly be sought out. The suit also asked the Maryland District Court judge to make it obligatory for the Hudson farmers to “adopt new environmental practices and allow environmentalists to take water samples to check compliance”. Perdue Farms and the Hudson farmers did not comment on the pending litigation.

Legal News Reporter: Sandra Quinlan- Legal News for Maryland Environmental Lawyers.

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