A public meeting is set for Wednesday night to discuss a hog farming operation located in the Buffalo National River Watershed. There are already some 800 animals at the C & H Hog Farm, but a permit allows the company to expand that to 6,500, which has many upset at the possibility of the operation polluting the nearby river.
The operation will be nearly three times as large as any other hog farm in the area. There are currently four other hog farms and two dairy farms in the Buffalo River Watershed.
The Director of the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality, Teresa Marks, says the farm meets permit requirements.
"I think the key is going to be to make sure that this hog farm is run in accordance with the regulations, in accordance with the nutrient management plan, and it's maintained properly to make sure there's not going to be a problem," says Marks.
Marks conceded that some waste will inevitably reach the river.
"There should not be excessive run-off into the river. Is there going to be some, probably. There's run-off from pretty much all the operations there in the Buffalo River Watershed to a certain extent. But the reason you apply it the way you do, in accordance with the terms of the nutrient management plan, is to try to make sure that you have no harm to the soil or adjacent waterways," says Marks.
The meeting is to be held in the town of Jasper at the Carroll Electric Cooperative building beginning at 6 p.m. Conservation groups, including the 90 year old National Parks Conservation Association, have filed a lawsuit arguing that waste will pollute the protected river beyond acceptable limits.