According to a report by the Environmental Protection Agency, Georgia’s state environmental protection agencies are failing to adequately inspect and protect environmental quality on many Georgia farms. The recent problems arise from large-scale pig and chicken farms, both of which generate large amounts of manure. The storage and removal of this manure is strictly regulated by the EPA and other state and federal agencies. Improper handling and disposal practices can lead to excess nitrogen and phosphorus leaching into groundwater.
According to the EPA’s Office of the Inspector General, however, state agencies have not been adequately inspecting and regulation manure lagoons on animal farms across the state. The EPA’s report indicated that roughly three-fourths of state inspections of Georgia large-scale farms were incomplete.
Georgia environmental advocacy groups used the EPA’s report as evidence of the need for further federal regulation and oversight. The executive director of the Georgia River Network stated, “It is surprising and unfortunate that Georgia is not doing everything it can to address these pollution problems.”
The EPA report has also generated controversy. Officers with the Georgia Environmental Protection Agency have asked for more time to investigate the EPA’s findings. At the present, they claim that they cannot completely get on board with the EPA’s conclusions.
In addition, some officers in the EPA do not believe that large-scale animal farms are responsible for pollution problems. According to Chris Plymale, the EPA’s Southeast storm water enforcement chief, there is no evidence from surface water sampling that can currently be traced back to large livestock farms.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer