Residents of Rush and Ellis counties oppose expansion of Kansas hog farm from 3,840 animals to 24,408

The residents of Rush and Ellis Counties had asked State Rep. Troy Waymaster, R-Bunker Hill, to hear the concerns of locals about the expansion, which could increase the permitted number of animals from 3,840 to 24,408.

The group is troubled about environmental damage, property values, health issues, road maintenance and their livelihoods.

“This is gonna ruin people’s lives,” said one young man to Waymaster.

Melanie Urban lives 1.1 miles from the edge of one of the proposed buildings.

“Right now when the wind blows, you can smell it. If it gets that much bigger, you’ll be able to smell it all the time.

“We’re worried our water wells are going to get polluted or even depleted,” she told Waymaster. “We’re also concerned about how much (animal) waste will be generated, how they’ll contain it and how it will spread so it doesn’t pollute our water resources.”

The Smoky Hill River is 1.5 miles away from the site and the source for drinking water, private wells and agricultural wells in the area. The Pfeifer well field on the Smoky Hill River is the primary source of water for the city of Russell.

According to the public hearing testimony, a certified land surveyor has determined dead swine and carcasses are being left in open trenches closer to one habitable structure (a home) than the required distance of 5,000 feet. That would be a violation of KDHE regulations and state law.

“The dead pigs are at the same depth as some of our water wells,” Urban continued. “They’ve been burying them there for 20 years. We’re worried about that getting into our water.”

(Read more: Junction City Post)