Yesterday, Nidel & Nace and Jacobs & Crumplar, PA, a Delaware law firm, filed a Complaint on behalf of eighty adults and numerous minors who have been harmed by a neighboring Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation, or “CAFO.”
As the Complaint details, Mountaire Farms owns and operates a chicken processing CAFO in Millsboro, Delaware. The facility processes as many as two million chickens per week; and those chickens cause significant waste. Mountaire sprays its fields around the facility with this waste in an effort to remove the waste therefore. As part of its permit, Mountaire’s facility may only spray specified amounts of wastewater based on daily, weekly and monthly limits. Amongst the specific aims of these limits are the desires to prevent the spread of infections bacteria and/or nitrates.
Plaintiffs are neighboring residents of Mountaire’s facility who rely upon well-water that is fed from the same aquifer upon which Mountaire’s facility sits. Due to the acts of Mountaire, Plaintiffs have seen nitrates exceed standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency, as well as the presence of infections pathogens including fecal coliform. Nitrates can cause numerous health problems, including congenital defects, a blood disorder that can be fatal to children, cardiovascular problems, and other serious health conditions. The Maximum Contaminant Level (“MCL) set by the EPA for nitrates is no more than 10 ppm. Many of these plaintiffs have discovered their drinking water contains levels at two, three or even four times the EPA MCL.
The Plaintiffs seek compensation for their individual losses, which include congenital defects, cardiovascular disorders, and even death. They further seek damages for loss of the value of their properties, medical monitoring, and other actual damages. By joining in this type of “mass action,” the Plaintiffs can pursue their losses individually, but present a united front against a well-funded CAFO that has indicated it will not accept responsibility for harming its neighbors.