KDHE denies permit for feedlot near Canton

Concluding the project would pose a threat to groundwater, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment denied a permit for the creation of a 9-acre feedlot for up to 999 cattle between Canton and Goessel.

Developer Brad Klaassen had applied for the permit for a facility that was to be located at 29th Avenue and Iron Side Road?about five miles southwest of Canton and a mile west of the McPherson-Marion county line.

Plans for the feedlot, including the buffer areas, were developed with the assistance of the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

But KDHE?s Oct. 10 decision stated the permit application and supporting documentation ?does not demonstrate the capability of the facility to adequately protect waters of the state.?

Two extenuating factors were cited: evidence of chlorides and nitrates during water-well construction, and the presence of three abandoned and one active gas well within or near the site.

KDHE concluded, ?The proposed vegetative buffer areas for 999 animal units would not provide adequate protection to an already hindered groundwater table.?

The reported said concern about the project generated 34 letters with 48 signatures, plus oral testimony from seven individuals during a public hearing Sept. 12 in Canton.

Surface and groundwater pollution was one of the concerns raised, but KDHE?s report addressed eight other objections that were cited by members of the public:

? The proximity of the project to Spring Valley Mennonite Church. KDHE found that the project met the legal requirement of at least 1,320 feet separation from ?hospitable structures.?

The report acknowledged ?the unpleasant conditions that a confined feeding facility could have on a neighboring church or ceme?tery… (but) there are no current regulations or statutes pertaining to churches other than (physical proximity).

? Air quality and odor. KDHE stated that ?dust and odor from livestock facilities are difficult challenges to address in an agricultural setting…(but) there are currently no standardized methods for measuring air emissions from agricultural facilities.?

The report added, ?Dust and odor can be reduced with good housekeeping.?

? Increase of flies, mosquitoes and other insects. The report stated KDHE will discuss insect issues with an operator during an inspection, but ?even the best control measures will not eliminate flies in an agricultural setting, and some flies are expected.?

? Depletion of water resources. The report stated that the Division of Water Resources within the Kansas Department of Agriculture has the responsibility of addressing water-quantity issues; KDHE addresses water-quality issues.

? Inadequate space for the projected herd size. The proposed facility met the recommended requirements for pen space and bunk space, as outlined by the Midwest Plan Service, according to KDHE; con?cerns about animal welfare should be directed to the KDA?s Division of Animal Health.

? Increased truck traffic and diminishing property values. Issues such as these are handled through local land-use ordinances and zoning requirements, according to KDHE.

? Choice of location. If all water-pollution controls are met, KDHE ?does not have the authority to require a permittee to utilize a different location.?

? Community safety from increased local activity. ?KDHE has no authority over community safety,? the report stated. ?Should suspicious activity be observed in the area, contact your local law enforcement officials.?

The report did note that ?alternate proposals for the site are being sought and a new permit application may be submitted to the KDHE in the future.?

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