Hog Factory Farm on Big Cove Creek
A small community is fighting against a large hog Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) or factory farm in Fulton County, PA.
This factory-like facility would be the largest in the county and would house close to 9,000 hogs, while confining sows to production of 9,600 piglets each month – or 115,200 piglets annually. With this many pigs comes even more manure. The CAFO would apply over 11.4 million gallons of manure to land in our watershed and use an estimated 14 million gallons of water each year.
Our upstream neighbors and community members, led by homeowner Marjorie Hudson (pictured on the right) – who lives across from the proposed hog CAFO – have opposed the project since it was proposed in 2014. Thanks to their efforts, they have been able to stop the CAFO so far from polluting nearby air, land and waterways.
The location of the proposed CAFO is on a hill that drains into tributaries of Big Cove Creek, a popular fishing location. The waters of Big Cove Creek flow into Licking Bend Creek, which is a tributary of the Potomac River. The Potomac River flows into the Chesapeake Bay and provides drinking water for approximately 4.5 million people.
- Apply over 11.4 million gallons of waste to land in our watershed
- Pollute groundwater and drinking water aquifers, as manure will be spread in a Karst area. Some Karst features are springs, sinkholes, and underground streams.
- Threaten private drinking wells
- Jeopardize aquatic habitat and trout fishing in Big Cove Creek
- Harm local air quality
- Not only do hog CAFOs create harsh odors for neighboring communities, but they also emit toxic pollutants, like hydrogen sulfide and ammonia, that can cause serious health problems for residents.
- Children and other vulnerable populations are more likely to experience asthmatic symptoms near hog CAFOs.
- Unlike other industries, hog CAFOs are not regulated by the Clean Air Act.
- Decrease overall water quality in the watershed
- Runoff from hog CAFOs contains microbes, hormones, pesticides and other harmful chemicals that degrade water quality, kill fish, cause algal blooms, and impairs drinking water sources.
- Use an estimated 14 million gallons of water each year
- CAFOs and other agricultural operations are responsible for 80-90% of all water consumption, using 34-76 trillion gallons of water every year.
Just one CAFO with 800,000 pigs generates 1.6 million tons of animal waste every year. This is as much waste is 1.5 times the amount of waste produced by the city of Philadelphia! Unlike human waste, animal waste from hog farms is often left untreated in open lagoons. This waste also contains harmful microbes and hormones, that make their way into local waterways.