Bay Journal

Topics: Pollution

Eastern Shore controversy spotlights chicken plant slurry

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​Lynette Kenney loves many things about living in the back country of Wicomico County on Maryland’s Eastern Shore: the friendly neighbors, the wind-swept cornfields, the relative quiet compared with the bustle of Salisbury, the nearest city of any size.

Not on that list: the 3-million-gallon, open-air storage tank filled with foul-smelling ooze coming to her neck of the woods in December.

The 23-foot-tall tank will contain an oily slurry culled from the wastewater generated by two poultry industry facilities in a neighboring county. Kenney fears the odor will drive her indoors, attract hordes of flies and cause the value of nearby properties, including hers, to plummet.

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About Pollution

Nutrient pollution, the nitrogen and phosphorus that originates from farms, wastewater treatment plants, stormwater runoff and air pollution, is a major source of pollution to the Chesapeake. In the Bay, they spur growth of algae blooms which block sunlight needed by important underwater grass beds. When the algae dies, they are decomposed in a process that depletes the water of oxygen needed by other species.

Sediment eroded from the land and streambanks degrades stream health and reduces water clarity. Toxins and other chemical contaminants also pose a direct threat to fish throughout the Bay and its watershed.

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