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Supervisors mull rendering plant's request

Water quality issues raised

By Katie Demeria

Shenandoah County leaders are torn over a recent request made by Mountain View Rendering LLC to make an amendment to its special use permit.

The request was discussed at the Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday but will not be acted upon until the day meeting at 9 a.m. Sept. 9.

The amendment would allow the processing plant to accept and process material from two other facilities, in Broadway and Moorfield, West Virginia, in cases of emergencies, such as if their machinery breaks down.

The plant, which is located next to George's Chicken 173 Rocco Road, already processes material from George's.

According to General Manager Jason Janita, the emergency product would result in a maximum of six additional trucks visiting the plant -- if both plants had emergencies at the same time. He said the facility could handle those loads.

Board members Cindy Bailey and Marsha Shruntz both voiced concerns over the amendment -- largely to do with whether or not George's Chicken's wastewater treatment plant, which works with the rendering plant, could handle the additional loads.

Bailey and Shruntz requested more information from the rendering plant related to its data logs, but Janita said in an email that he would provide information to the entire board, not individual members.

Members met with representatives from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality on Tuesday, Bailey said during the meeting.

She pointed out that George's last water quality violation was in December 2013.

"They haven't even had a year without a violation with what they're currently processing," Bailey said. She suggested Mountain View Rendering come back in a year, after George's has had time to deal with water quality issues, to reconsider the request.

While she said she understands that George's Chicken does not own the Mountain View Rendering plant, she said the board should ensure that George's is meeting its water quality requirements before allowing Mountain View Rendering to bring in more products.

"The water supply is continually being polluted," she said. "And we need to say enough is enough, and I think it starts here."

Janita said during the meeting that there is a higher risk of an accident occurring when the emergency product is taken to a plant further away from Edinburg.

Shruntz pointed out that, as of now, there does not seem to be a problem with the rendering plant.

"The dilemma stems more from George's," she said. "There's something wrong with that system, not your system."

Board member Dick Neese pointed out the opposing side of the argument in that the poultry industry is very important in the county.

"We need to promote the poultry industry in the valley," he said. "I can't imagine what would happen if anybody pulled up and left on the poultry side."

In an interview Wednesday, Shruntz said she understands both sides of the argument.

"I feel that this is an excessive request but I'm on the fence," she said. "I support the rendering plant, the businesses, the jobs it provides to the county -- it's a hard decision to make in terms of toxins from the water treatment plant dumping into our streams."

She added that waiting to take action on the issue until the September day meeting will allow constituents to call their board members and voice their opinions.

Residents can contact their district's representatives with their concerns by visiting http://shenandoahcountyva.us/bos.

Contact staff writer Katie Demeria at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or kdemeria@nvdaily.com

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