LOGANTON, CLINTON COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — Residents in a Central Pennsylvania community are calling for action to address a potential public health situation. They say a local slaughterhouse has been contaminating local lands and waterways.
Lifelong Loganton residents are speaking out about what they feel are unsavory practices taking place at the Nicholas Meats slaughterhouse.
“This isn’t country smell, this is a blood smell. It’s a sickening smell and it does, it makes you sick in the stomach like you could throw up,” says Mary Brungard, a Loganton resident.
Mary Brungard has lived on East Valley Road, for nearly 60 years, just down the street from the plant’s current location. She says the constant odor is so problematic, it’s begun to affect her property value.
“Right now, we’re working again to get our taxes lowered because of this smell. Because no one wants to live in this community with the smell the way it is,” says Brungard.
Just down the road, Trish Leigey has her own concerns about the slaughterhouse. She says their land application practices of applying animal byproduct to help the soil, has impacted her and other community residents.
“I just want it to be regulated property. I want someone to oversee. I’m asking our elected officials to help us. This community is not the only community in jeopardy from this land application,” says Trish Leigey, a Loganton resident.
Nicholas Meats tells Eyewitness News that their food processing residuals are applied to local farmland- a practice protected by the state and federal government.
They also deny any and all allegations of contamination, saying, “Neither Nicholas Meat, nor any operation that land applies… Nicholas Meats food processing residual is aware of any contamination of local wells or water related to land application activities, and categorically denies any allegations to the contrary.”
But Leigey says photos, taken of water out of her kitchen tap and bathtub, tell a different story.
She says the poor quality of her well water is verified in a 2017 USGS survey and required her to spend $10 thousand dollars, out of pocket, to drill into a new water vein.
“It’s just nonstop. We don’t get a break from it, and it’s just emotionally putting a lot on my family… Physically, financially, mentally and I’ve had enough.
Eyewitness News did reach out to the Department of Health for comment. They said they have investigated individual complaints into the slaughterhouse to date, two notice of violations have been issued to Nicholas Meats.
UPDATE: In response, Nicholas Meat released the following statement:
“Nicholas Meat rejects the baseless allegations that it has caused contamination of area water and wells. First, Nicholas Meat LLC is an exporter of nutrient-rich food processing residuals that are applied to area farmland. Because land application of these residuals is beneficial for both soils and crops, the EPA, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, and agricultural experts support and encourage this practice, which is protected by the Pennsylvania Right to Farm Act. Second, the farmers that land apply Nicholas Meat’s food processing residuals do so pursuant to applicable laws and regulations, which includes ensuring that local wells and water are unaffected by the process. Finally, Nicholas Meat is working to obtain necessary permits for the construction of a Sustainable Resource Facility, which will allow Nicholas Meat to recycle FPR and water within the plant, greatly reducing its withdrawal of water from the aquifer, and generate biogas to help Nicholas Meat run its operations, which will reduce its carbon footprint. Due to the nature of the project, the permit application process is complex and involves review by local governing bodies and state regulatory agencies. Nicholas Meat has diligently worked to surmount the administrative challenges and already made significant financial investment to achieve their goal of constructing this environmentally conscious facility, and welcomes community and political support for its objectives. Nicholas Meat intends to move forward with construction as soon as it is authorized to do so.“