Montco residents say fertilizer plant is making them sick. The fertilizer is called Hatgro which is basically slaughtered pig wastewater that's dried and mixed with lime, and made into pellet form.
SHOCKING! HOW HATFIELD FOOLED THE REGULATORS ABOUT THE HATGRO SHITTY PRODUCT: Hatfield Quality Meats (Hatfield) generates food processing residual (FPR) product which is dried into pellets and, when compared to poultry pellets, is rich in nitrogen. Hatfield wanted the freedom and flexibility to use the pellets in agriculture as a natural fertilizer, without the need for regulatory oversight and permitting.
By Chad Pradelli
Tuesday, May 02, 2017 01:26AM
BALLY, Pa. (WPVI) -- Some Montgomery County residents are raising a stink about the fertilizer plant next door. They say something's changed and now it's making them sick.
From Springfield Township, Bucks County to Bally, Berks County.
Some residents say fertilizer clouds have been hovering over their homes, coating cars, creating an unbearable stench and simply making life miserable.
Joe Wolfgang of Bally, Pennsylvania said, "Just made you choke up, you can't breathe, your lungs are burning."
Joe Wolfgang says the fertilizer infiltrating his Bally home is called Hatgro which is basically slaughtered pig wastewater that's dried and mixed with lime, and made into pellet form. He and other residents gathered for a town meeting to voice concerns last month.
Ann Elderhorse of Bally said, "We ended up with sinus infections. A week and half after, my family ended up in the doctor's office."
University of Buffalo environmental engineer, Dr. Robert Baier has been testing dust samples provided by Wolfgang and other residents pro bono. He says the samples had a very high alkalinity due to the lime.
He said, "When it gets into the mucus passages or in your eyes or in your lungs, it burns. It stings like hell."
In Newtown, Bucks County, Rick Gillie said, "The smell is probably the most disgusting smell you can imagine. Once it gets in the air, it just stays with you, like a dead decaying body."
Neha Shah of Newtown, Pennsylvania said, "It's like a decaying body, a dying animal."
David Beane, an environmental attorney has filed suit against Hatfield and the farmer who applied the product on behalf of several affected residents who claim dust blew onto their property.
"This was not a problem until 2015. Something happened in 2015 that changed the application and its that we're attempting to reverse," said Beane.
Hatfield says it trains farmers how to use and apply the product.
The company feels the complaints are few and it doesn't see a need to reformulate it.
Tim Bergere, Clemens Food Group attorney said, "We're obviously concerned anytime somebody has a complaint about a product the company produces."
Hatfield denies the plaintiffs' allegations - calls the fertilizer organic, safe and denies the product is more odiferous than other common fertilizers. In court papers, the company also says the Pa. DEP inspected the Wolfgang's property and found the application did not violate any laws.
Clemens admits the Pa. Department of Environmental Protection has asked it about controlling dust from Hatgro.
Bergere said, "You don't want to re-engineer a product because in one particular case it may have mis-applied or applied on a windy day".
Brad Clemens of Clemens Food Group said, "But again, these are people who live in the same communities we do. So if it is something that's important to them then it is something that is important to us"
Hatfield meats makes virtually no money on this product. Farmers are essentially given the product.
Management of "HatGro", a Thermally Dried Food Processing Residual, Hatfield Quality Meats, Hatfield, PA
Hatfield Quality Meats (Hatfield) generates food processing residual (FPR) product which is dried into pellets and, when compared to poultry pellets, is rich in nitrogen. Hatfield wanted the freedom and flexibility to use the pellets in agriculture as a natural fertilizer, without the need for regulatory oversight and permitting. Material Matters developed an approach for establishing co-product status for a food processing residual (FPR) generated at the Hatfield processing facility and we were able to obtain co-product status from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) through an application process that met the needs for beneficial use for Hatfield.
Pig-Manure Fertilizer Linked to Human MRSA Infections
Living near livestock farms and manure-treated fields are found to be associated with higher rates of antibiotic-resistant infection
By Sarah Zhang, Nature magazine on September 17, 2013
Credit: Dylan Snow/Flickr
People living near pig farms or agricultural fields fertilized with pig manure are more likely to become infected with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteria, according to a paper published today in JAMA Internal Medicine.
Previous research has found that livestock workers are at high risk of carrying MRSA, compared to the general population. But it has been unclear whether the spreading of MRSA through livestock puts the public at risk of infection.
The study examined the incidence of infections in Pennsylvania, where manure from pig farms is often spread on crop fields to comply with state regulations for manure disposal. Researchers reviewed electronic health-care records from patients who sought care from the Pennsylvania-based Geisinger Health System (which helped to fund the study) in 2005–10.
The team analyzed cases of two different types of MRSA — community-associated MRSA (CA-MRSA), which affected 1,539 patients, and health-care-associated MRSA (HA-MRSA), which affected 1,335 patients. (The two categories refer to where patients acquire the infection as well as the bacteria’s genetic lineages, but the distinction has grown fuzzier as more patients bring MRSA in and out of the hospital.) Then the researchers examined whether infected people lived near pig farms or agricultural land where pig manure was spread. They found that people who had the highest exposure to manure — calculated on the basis of how close they lived to farms, how large the farms were and how much manure was used — were 38% more likely to get CA-MRSA and 30% more likely to get HA-MRSA.
The researchers also analyzed 200 skin, blood, and sputum samples isolated from patients in the same health-care system in 2012. The MRSA strains found in those samples are commonly found in humans. Researchers did not find any evidence of bacteria belonging to clonal complex 398 (CC398), a MRSA strain classically associated with livestock and found in farms and farm workers in many previous studies.
However, there is little information about which MRSA strains are most common on US farms, so the absence of CC398 is not a sign that MRSA is not being transmitted from livestock to humans. “We’ve done studies in Iowa, we haven’t always found CC398. That’s not too shocking,” says Tara Smith, a microbiologist at Kent State University in Ohio, who was not involved in the study.
Many researchers think that widespread use of antibiotics to encourage growth in farm animals fuels the proliferation of MRSA and other drug-resistant bacteria. The latest findings suggest that manure is helping antibiotic resistance to spread, says Joan Casey, an environmental-health scientist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland, and a co-author of the study.
“We’ve certainly described a connection we think is plausible,” she says. “We haven’t described every step in the path.”
“It’s a pretty interesting and provocative observation,” says Robert Daum, a pediatrician and the principal investigator of the MRSA Research Center at the University of Chicago in Illinois. He adds that he would like to see similar studies done in different geographic regions, and research to find out whether the MRSA strains carried in pig manure are the same as the MRSA strains found in nearby human infections.
Casey is at work on a follow-up genetics study to identify the most common MRSA strains in the region.