Arkansas Egg Producer Under Investigation for Poultry Litter

By Robert J. Korpella

First posted on 08-10-2008

The Environmental Protection Agency confirmed it is investigating an Arkansas egg producing company but declined to give details about what prompted the investigation, and the company being investigated would not describe the nature of the investigation.

Last Friday, an EPA spokesperson said the government agency was gathering information regarding a potential violation but said that, since action was still pending, she was “unable to provide additional information.”

The facility being investigated is owned by Arkansas Egg Company and was previously operated as Ozark Egg. Now shuttered, the caged layer farm is situated just outside Summers, Arkansas and lies within the Illinois River basin. Arkansas Egg closed the operation earlier this year.

While today’s investigation details may not be public knowledge, the farm has had a history of environmental issues. In 1992, an unpermitted discharge of poultry waste into Ballard Creek resulted in a large fish kill in Oklahoma and resulted in $33,000 in civil penalties and cost reimbursement to the state of Oklahoma.

Since 2005, the facility was operated under an administrative consent order after Arkansas environmental officials discovered improperly maintained storage structures that contained liquid poultry waste.

Arkansas Egg President Michael Cox said the liquid storage set-up was one of the reasons the company elected to discontinue operations at the farm. He said that most modern egg laying houses use dry manure systems, which are “more environmentally friendly than liquid manure systems.”