The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality says that drilling has been completed at the site of a hog farm located near the Buffalo National River. It was part of a study meant to conclude whether waste from the farm is spreading pollutants in the ground.
An independent consulting company, Little Rock-based Harbor Environment and Safety, hired Cascade Drilling of Memphis, Tennessee for the operation. Drilling concluded on Friday near waste storage ponds at the C&H Hog Farms close to the town of Mount Judea in Newton County. The company finished filling the 120-foot hole with cement on Monday.
The ADEQ says samples are being stored at the Arkansas Geological Survey warehouses in Little Rock. An agency press release from earlier this month says the samples would be sent to Arkansas Analytical, a certified environmental laboratory, for testing.
“I look forward to receiving the results of the laboratory analysis and geotechncal report in the coming weeks, but I recognize sound scientific analysis that meets our high standards for quality assurance and quality control will take time,” ADEQ Director Becky Keogh says in a press release.
Since 2013, environmental activists have argued that waste from the hog farm is polluting the Buffalo National River, known for its pristine nature. The University of Arkansas Big Creek Extension and Research team has conducted tests in the area for a 5-year comprehensive study, thus far finding no evidence that C&H has polluted the Buffalo. That study has been criticized by environmental groups like the Buffalo River Watershed Alliance, whose members have argued that the UA researchers have sympathetic relationships with C&H.
Validated lab results and analysis from the new independent study are expected in about six weeks. Harbor is expected to issue final report to the ADEQ by January 2017.