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Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Proposed Hog Farm Raises Stink In Virginia Community

The Bates County 4 water district had about 30 additional guests, mainly concerned neighbors, at this month’s board meeting following word that a proposed CAFO hog operation is planned and would be located a couple miles north of Virginia on C highway. As with other similar operations in the county, concerns have been raised regarding runoff, contamination of wells and other issues, as were raised during the meeting. 

However, first things first- the facility will require an estimated 30,000 gallons of water per day and the owners recently approached the water district to see if this is possible. The usage would equate to about 1 million gallons a month, which would be about 25% of their customer base.

The district now purchases all its water; some from Butler, with a portion from Rich Hill and Bates 2 district. It’s yet to be confirmed, but word is that the additional capacity could be met, but an engineer’s hydraulic study will be required to see if that is true. 

No timeline was given when the firm, Lamp Rynearson, would have the results but all things considered they are expected soon.

It was noted that another such proposed operation west of Rich Hill a few years back was rejected, as the hydraulic study showed the system not capable of providing a similar amount of water for that proposed operation of about 6,800 hogs. 

Many questions were asked of the board, including how do they prioritize customers in terms of need. The answer was straightforward, residents/homes first, then agriculture. This in turn brought a question regarding drought- would residents still get water first? The answer was yes. 

However, this brought discussion of a horrible scenario where a large hog operation without water even for a day would be disastrous, leaving the conversation somewhat open-ended.

Other challenges for the CAFO operation could be that the district is operating under the Missouri Water Protection Program. Pollutants entering the state’s waters are heavily regulated and any possibility of contamination comes under heavy scrutiny by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. The possibility of such issues will be subject to review by the DNR prior to issuing permits.

In the event Bates 4 cannot provide as needed, other alternatives could possibly be drilling wells on the property or making an arrangement with the city of Butler to provide a dedicated line.  

Mid America Live will continue to follow this story and will report findings of the hydraulic report as soon as they are available.