Maryland State Administration is proposing regulations that would for the first time allow the state’s environmental agency to police pollution from the Eastern Shore’s huge poultry industry.
Under draft regulations released on Friday, large chicken farms would have to get state permits and follow a list of pollution control requirements or face fines of up to US$10,000 per day.
The permits would be necessary for around 200 farms and would pave way for the Maryland Department of the Environment to inspect chicken houses and take water samples in streams nearby.
Background to these new rules is the fact that chicken manure runoff is purported to be one of the largest sources of pollution in the Chesapeake Bay.
State Administration officials said the rules will help restore the bay’s health, when combined with other state efforts including improving sewage treatment plants and fixing leaky urban storm water pipes.
However, a spokesman for the chicken industry is not so enthusiastic about the regulations stating that they will be difficult to enforce.
Bill Satterfield, executive director of Delmarva Poultry Industry Inc., a trade organisation asked where the state would get the money to conduct inspections on a large number of farms?
The Department of the Environment will take comments from the public on the proposal and issue final regulations March 31, officials said. The final rules will take effect within 120 days after that.