DNREC Presents Remediation Plan For Poultry Plant; Residents Won - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

DNREC Presents Remediation Plan For Poultry Plant; Residents Won't Stand Down

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MILLSBORO, Del. - Millsboro residents got their last opportunity to comment on plans to convert the old Vlasic Pickle Plant into a poultry processing site at a public hearing Tuesday evening.

In order to purchase the site, Allen Harim Foods had to enter an agreement with DNREC to clean up the area, which is contaminated with groundwater pollutants. At the public hearing, officials presented their proposed plan to remediate the facility, which includes long-term monitoring of the groundwater.

"We just want to add an additional safeguard to ensure that the contamination doesn't increase. This site overall is not a large source of any type of contamination in the vicinity," DNREC's Environmental Program Administrator Timothy Ratsep said.

"Don't dump in our river," Millsboro resident Jay Meyer said.

"We can look across the river to the north and see Mountaire, and we can look to the south and see where Vlasic was. Well, why would we want to continue to pollute an area that is already contaminated?" Millsboro resident Dottie Lecates said.

There's no question the site is contaminated, but DNREC says the damage is minimal and contained.

"The soil actually on the facility meets residential use. The groundwater does not pose a risk currently to human health or the environment," Ratsep said.

But many residents and even ecologists disagree.

"I'm not convinced from the monitoring well data that I've seen," ecosystems ecologist Todd Hurd said.

If Allen Harim goes on to acquire the necessary permits and purchase the facility, long-term resident Dottie Lecates says the battle will not end there.

"Stand hard and fast on the monitoring every step of the way. We're not gonna stop," she said.

There are community groups endorsing this project.  The President of The Sussex County Association of Realtors Bob McVey says the county is in desperate need of a facility like this to stimulate the economy. The plant is expected to bring 700 jobs to the area.

DNREC will now issue their final plan for remediation to the state for approval. From there, Allen Harim would have to acquire permits and purchase the site. 

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