On Sept. 6, Friends of the North Fork submitted comments to the Shenandoah County Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors regarding a request from Mountain View Rendering Co., Edinburg, to amend its special use permit to receive additional materials for rendering. Ultimately, the wastewater from their rendering plant is sent to the nearby George's Chicken plant for treatment and discharge into Stoney Creek.
Our concern is whether George's Chicken, which has a pollution discharge permit from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, can handle the additional waste from Mt. View properly and without damage to Stoney Creek.
There was a serious event at the George's plant a few weeks ago:
Key wastewater discharge limits were violated for about a week, with excess pollution levels found in Stoney Creek. Although measures were taken to correct the problem, the plant continued to operate and discharge inadequately treated waste. As a result, the violations continued. The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) conducted an inspection and made recommendations on better monitoring and maintenance practices. The DEQ is now considering issuing a notice of violation and imposing a fine.
The Planning Commission voted unanimously to recommend approval of Mt. View's request for several reasons. George's Chicken has the design capacity to receive additional materials. Mt. View is a separate legal entity (although 25 percent of the company is owned by George's Chicken) and as such Mt. View is not responsible for the wastewater treatment violations committed by George's Chicken. We understand the Commission's recommendation, but remain concerned whether George's can handle the additional waste they will receive from Mt. View.
We have sent the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors the file from DEQ on George's history of violations. We will continue to monitor whether George's is correcting the problems, which according to DEQ are primarily related to proper operation of its wastewater treatment plant. Until George's has corrected its operational problems, we urge the commission and the board to consider the consequences of approving actions that add to the amount of wastes treated at the George's plant.
Ron Falyar, President,
Friends of the North Fork of the Shenandoah River