Impacted by Food Processing Residual
The following are personal stories, written by the families directly impacted by FPR in Antrim Township. They are the experiences of the authors and have not been altered by the Antrim Townships Citizens for Safe Water Board of Directors.
WE NEED HELP!
In the late summer of 2021, the well water supplies of three residences east of Greencastle were irreparably contaminated. Several others within the local community hired Negley’s Water to test and treat their wells for drinking water contaminates due to concerns for their own water supply.
The Echo Pilot reported on the story during a special meeting held at Shady Grove Community Center. The Antrim Township Board of Supervisors, PA Department of Environmental Protection, Representative Paul Schemel, Michele Ivory (Constituent Outreach Specialist for Senator Judy Ward), and a large group of concerned residents gathered to bring awareness to the situation, ask questions, and seek help!
Since this article almost 2 years have passed. The three impacted families have joined together and sued Pennsylvania DEP and Barr Farms LLC for their role in the damages which occurred. The Environmental Hearing Board Docket displays the court filings and explains the details pertaining to each case.
Case # 1/Docket # 2021124/Year of 2021
12-13-21- The 3 residents filed a Supersedeas to stop the spreading of 1.3 Million Gallons of the material, held at the Barr Facility, which was believed to be FPR.
To read the timeline and see the evidence presented to the court, refer to the filings under “Notice of Appeal “-Exhibits A & B
Results- PA DEP withdrew their approval of Barr’s LAS Plan for spreading the material, due to the Human Gene detected in the material held in both pits.
Case 1 Results
Brad & Kayla Kershner
"Our Journey started on August 11th, 2021.
Ever since that day, our family's life has changed."
Our water supply was impacted and that lead to us not being able to use any water in our house for over a month. This tremendously impacted our life as we had to go to Kayla's parents' house to shower every night and to wash clothes. We also had to wash our dishes up there or use paper and plastic utensils. This also led to many nights of ordering take out, so we didn't have to worry about dishes. We had to buy bottled water to drink and cook with as well as to brush our teeth and wash our hands.
We had many calls, time spent with specialists and money spent trying to figure out what was going on with our water and how we could solve the issue. It wasn't until the middle of September until we got a temporary water supply unit that we were able to get water back into our house that we could use. This temporary unit took up the whole one side of our garage that we now cannot use. Also, since the garage is not insulated, we had to spend extra money to insulate the unit and heat the water so it would not freeze going into our house. We had to go through many trials and error processes to fix our water which ended up costing us more money, plus health concerns and our problem was never fixed.
This then led us to having to seek legal help in order to try to resolve the issue. This all cost lots of time with phone calls, emails, meetings, and questions, but we continue to pay out money for water and legal expenses that has a huge impact on our family finacically. We also do not have a permanent solution to getting a permanent water source or even it if it possible. We pray every night that God will provide us with answers and help us come through this situation. Thanks for reading this and we pray that this never happens to anyone else
Tom & Lori Clopper
"Since 2018, our household has endured the adverse effects of Food Processing Residuals (FPR) being stored at a neighboring farm."
My husband and I both grew up in agricultural families, so we are no strangers to agricultural practices, specifically the smell of manure. However, the smell which permeated from the pits holding the FPR across the road was unbearable. It kept us prisoners in our own home as the material the farmer was trucking in occurred night and day. It became impossible to host outdoor events, such as our son’s graduation party, much less do things as routine as mow our lawn or open our windows for fresh air. When there was no reprieve from the smell, I began to make odor and vector complaints to Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP). These complaints were dismissed for several years. Little did we know at that time, that odor would soon be the least of our worries.
On September 3, 2021, I, Lori was taking a shower and within several minutes the water coming from the shower had a putrid smell which resembled that of rotting or dead poultry. This odor was identical to the smell that continuously permeates the air at our home that is emitted from the pits across the road that hold over 1 million gallons of FPR. I immediately turned the water off but was already covered in an oily substance that released this same putrid smell. Since my husband Tom and I had attended a neighborhood meeting earlier that week regarding our neighbors’ well contamination we were aware of the similarities of this water problem.
I immediately contacted DEP’s emergency phone line at 11:53 pm, where an official complaint was filed. We were told that someone would get back to us the following week. The following morning Saturday, September 4, 2021, at 7 am we contacted Negley’s water service seeking help. Since Negley’s were already familiar with the situations of the Kershner’s and Grove’s, they advised us to stop using the water immediately and we spent the next week using the showers of family and jugging water to use for drinking, cooking, brushing our teeth, filling our toilet tanks, to provide our golden retriever with water, and to be able to wash our hands. The following week we purchased a temporary water system from Negley’s in order to support daily water use, which cost approximately $6,000. This system takes up a large portion of our garage and required us to insulate and heat this space to prevent freezing during the winter months. We continue to rely on this temporary water system to this day.
Upon the contamination of our water, we endured months of phone conversations, emails, and on-site visits from DEP staff and their experts which made it obvious that the only way to resolve this issue was to join forces with our neighbors and retain legal counsel. Our weekly routines now consist of numerous phone calls, repeated water testing, well videoing, attorney meetings, hours obtaining clean water, and trying to educate our neighbors and community in hopes that awareness can help spare others.
The fight continues for over 18 months now. More than 550 days have passed without a permanent water system in our home, but we are thankful for our faith, as we do not have to carry this burden alone. In March of 2023, DEP sent the responsible parties a notification that their operations had adversely affected the private water supply of our home. We are still waiting for a response from this notification. We have chosen not to begin drilling a new well until we know for certain if the responsible parties will be allowed to resume hauling, storing, and spreading FPR in our community. If this cycle resumes a new well could succumb to the same fate.
There are not strong enough words for us to convey the impact that this catastrophe has had on every aspect of our lives, physical, mental, and emotional. We have spent countless days off work to attend meetings and on-site visits, worries of the long-term effects of this situation on not only our home but our health, and the embarrassing stigma of having family and friends over and having them question if they can drink our water without worry. Every aspect of this journey has cost us money and continues to be a financial burden, from expert analyses, to temporary water system costs, and legal expenses. Our day-to-day life has changed as we knew it.
Things We Previously Took for Granted
Being able to drink our own water
Doing laundry in our own home
Brushing our teeth
Water for the coffee maker
Water for our dog
The time spent in the shower
Ability to water flowers
Washing our car
Conveniences That are Now Chores
The physical toll of running 600 feet of hose to fill temporary water system in all weather conditions
Hours spent weekly filling temporary water system
Filling jugs at a neighbor's for drinking water
Constantly maintaining awareness of weather to prevent temporary water system from freezing
Constant monitoring of water levels
We share our story in hopes that it will bring change.
All the money and efforts that the state of Pennsylvania and its DEP put into other water initiatives are completely undone with the lack of regulation regarding FPR. It is blatantly obvious why surrounding states such as Virginia and Maryland prohibit the spreading of FPR and truck this waste to Pennsylvania, where there are no rules or regulations. We hope that our story brings awareness to the emergent need for regulation on the use of FPR that would help prevent others in this community from experiencing a tragedy like ours.