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Report examines health impacts of planned poultry plant near Superfund sites.

Researchers from University of Maryland were in Millsboro, DE to present a study on the potential health impacts of the planned Allen Harim poultry processing plant in Millsboro.

About 40 residents attended a discussion of the health assessment at the Indian River Senior Center in Millsboro. Many of them have protested Allen Harim's plans to use the former Vlasic pickle plant site for poultry processing.

They've long been concerned about the air and water quality in their community--due to their close proximity to 2 EPA Superfund sites, several industrial plants including the NRG Indian River Power Plant and the Mountaire Millsboro Poultry Processing Plant.

The research stitched together various studies, including groundwater sampling data near the proposed Allen Harim site that indicated a high presence of chloroform and other potentially hazardous substances.

The analysis also emphasized the health profile of the Millsboro community--which is significantly poorer than the rest of the state.

The gathering was organized by an advocacy group called the Socially Responsible Agriculture Project, who requested the study from University of Maryland's School of Public Health. Socially Responsible Agriculture Project's Maria Payan says the analysis presents strong arguments against building another potentially harmful facility in the community.

"This gives us data to say, basically, look, the community is overburdened," said Payan. "We need to address some of the things that we can do to make sure they are safeguarded from any further contamination and health risks."

Dottie LeCates, a Millsboro resident, adds that while the content of the study isn't news to her, she's happy to see it packaged in one place.

"We have known that we live in a hotspot. That two mile radius on the east side of Millboro has been highly contaminated for years and years. That is not new information. But to see it put in print... I think our general public needs to know," said LeCates. "Go to Georgetown, get a $4 water testing kit and see what we're drinking in our private wells."

LeCates is also a member of Protecting Our Indian River, a group of residents from Millsboro's Possum Point subdivision. The group attempted to overturn the Sussex County Board of Adjustment's decision to allow the former Vlasic site to be used for poultry processing.

Earlier this month, the judge ruled in favor of Allen Harim, but the residents plan to appeal in the near future.

Source: Eli Chen, Delaware Public Media

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Publication:Hazardous Waste Superfund Alert
Date:Jul 29, 2015
Words:401
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