Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Coal C-Stone flyash and Shuringa CAFO

If you're going to build a calf CAFO in the heart of a residential community where you know your neighbors are unhappy about your settling it "next door" so to speak would think you would
  • dot all your "i's" and cross all your "t's" --
  • keep your operations well within all guidelines, including environmental, health, etc. --
  • and most probably do your best to make friends with those residents as quickly as possible --
...wouldn't you?

After all, as the CAFO owner, it's in your best interest not to intimidate people, not to scare people, not to raise unnecessary negative attention, nor raise serious questions about what you are doing ...right?

It appears to me (just my humble opinion) that the Shuringa Poultry-turned-Calf CAFO operation has chosen a different set of principles to guide their decisions.

Here's a quick "timeline snapshot" of what has been happening this month.

Tues. March 6, 2007: They get the word from IDEM that their NPDES permit is approved. Not for the 10,000 calves mentioned at the BZA hearing, but for 3,150 calves. Also... they put in another permit application to put cement floors in the 2 buildings that have dirt floors... so, just a guess on my part, but now that they have their "foot in the doors" that number of 3,150 calves may rise quickly?

Adjoining neighbors and interested parties didn't receive their letters from IDEM announcing the approval until Friday or later.

We got our letter from IDEM on the Saturday (March 10) following the approval. Interestingly enough, IDEM never addressed our point-by-point concerns as they had promised they would do in their "form" letter that was sent after we wrote them on the subject.

It strikes me as their way of sending a message on how important we are (and other residents are) with respect to CAFO decisions made at IDEM. But I digress... Back to the timeline.

Wed. March 7, 2007: Walstra Trucking trucks started hauling material into the site first thing in the morning -- some type of "mystery fill" according to one witness who scraped some of it up off the road where it had spilled out from some of the trucks.

Thurs. March 8, 2007: A helicopter was witnessed going straight down 49, took a left at 800 circled Schuringa's CAFO site and then went north. At 5 pm hauling operations to the site are ceased. At 8 pm, all equipment is taken off the Shuringa site.

Fri. March 9, 2007: NIPSCO (investigators?) show up at the site and start taking pictures. People witnessed them from County Road 800. Some said it appeared that they were videotaping the scene.

Sat. March 10, 2007: A helicopter is again witnessed in the area.

After that, all is silent... however, rumors of fly ash start to fly. Concerned citizens contact IDEM and are answered by e-mail QUOTE:
Thank you for your email regarding the Schuringa Poultry Farm, Inc. operation. You are correct, calf hutches have not been approved for the operation, as was 2 barns were not approved. I will inform you that a new application has been submitted to approve the 2 barns and install concrete. That application material is pending until engineer/permit review is complete. It is my understanding from the operation that the fly ash material is being stockpiled at the farm. Our inspector is aware of the situation and is looking into the situation.
Interestingly enough, no mention of flyash stockpiling was ever mentioned at the BZA meetings regarding this CAFO.

In a later email from IDEM to another individual on the subject, this response was given to concerns regarding the flyash material:
Thank you for you email regarding Schuringa Poultry Farm, Inc. and accepting fly ash material from NIPSCO. First of all, let me inform you that there are legitimate beneficial reuses for fly ash material, i.e. under-lament for concrete pads and roads. I encourage you to contact Tracy Barnes (317-308-3110) or Dave Berrey (317-308-3341) of IDEM’s compliance section. They will be able to explain the benefits for reusing fly ash. Secondly, I have been in contact with representatives for Schuringa Poultry Farm, Inc. and was informed that they are stock piling the fly ash material. Finally, I have made our compliance inspector in the area (Bill Burns) aware of the situation. If you have compliance issues regarding the operation, please call him at (219) 757-0275.

If you have any additional questions, please call me at (317) 233-3554.


Daniel Bruggen
One unconfirmed rumor has it that the trucks were hauling the flyash materials to another dairy in the region which apparently was authorized to receive it, and about 100 to 200 loads were "diverted" from this approved destination to the Shuringa CAFO -- unauthorized. Another rumor has it that NIPSCO will be doing a "clean up" removing this "unauthorized fill" (which they also referred to as C-Stone ...a type of flyash aggregate) from the site. Sounds almost like a "Superfund Site" operation, doesn't it? But NIPSCO can't begin clean up operations right now owing to frost laws protecting the roads into the property.

Frost laws went into effect for these roads on or about the 15th or 16th (not sure of exact date).

Why all the concern surrounding stockpiling and/or use of flyash and/or C-Stone at this particular location?

You may recall my mention of the fragile nature of our aquifer being so close to the surface -- the necessity of shallow wells providing water to so many homes -- the sandy consistency of soils in this area -- and the proximity of Wolf Creek.

BUT you might not know about -- The Pines, Indiana.

Download the f-ree pdf regarding the situation at The Pines, Indiana. It's a good read -- and very educational on the subject of flyash.

Meanwhile, back to my original question. In less than 24 hours after getting their IDEM permit, this CAFO is already tossing out "good neighbor" principles (my humble opinion), creating all kinds of concerns -- and raising all kinds of questions for residents in this area.

I'll be back with pictures tomorrow and more.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Lets not forget to mention the 21,000 or so buried chickens on the property..