Rose Acres may be a misnomer for the State’s largest egg producing facility. While this uber-industrial egg-laying facility’s footprint may take up acres, the ventilation fans blowing ammonia from the egg-laying houses would certainly not make this facility or any place downwind, smell rosey.
Industrial in its scale, Rose Acre farm was originally planned to house 4 million chickens at any time. The farm got a water quality permit from the State to operate in 2004 with conditions that allowed the State to monitor water quality impacts from its operation. Those conditions rubbed the company the wrong way, apparently, as it has been fighting the State’s monitoring conditions since 2010, as reported in the News and Observer.
At issue is whether air pollution from animal operations are subject to water quality regulations. Recent studies have been done showing that there is an impact to water quality from these facilities even if there is no direct waste discharge. Pollution such as ammonia gets ventilated from the large egg laying buildings is airborne and gets deposited on the downwind landscape where, after rains, it then drains into waterways.
Rose Acre argues that since there is no direct discharge to water, there’s no need for a permit.
The issue is being sorted out legally with the local Riverkeeper seeking to intervene on behalf of the state due to concerns over the state’s commitment to environmental protection. Finding the path to do right by the environment should be the common ground sought by all sides of this issue.