Poultry farming growth hits northeast Oklahoma water supply
TULSA, Okla. (AP) — Families living near new and larger poultry farms in northeast Oklahoma are blaming the facilities for their diminishing water supply.
The planned construction of an upgraded poultry processing facility in nearby Arkansas has prompted the growth in chicken farming, The Tulsa World reported.
Peggy Thompson said her family home in Rose had a good supply of well water for generations, but that the poultry operations are using it all up.
“I have to drive 10 miles to do laundry at a Laundromat now instead of doing it in my own home,” Thompson said.
No clear evidence points to the poultry operation expansion as the cause for the recent water problems, but Kent Wilkens, chief of the Oklahoma Water Resources Board Planning and Management Division, said it is possible in theory. People can contact the division and arrange for inspections, while staff can offer advice, he said.
The Oklahoma Department of Agriculture Food and Forestry has issued 41 licenses to expand or build new poultry operations over the past 12 months. More than half of those are listed for Delaware, Mayes, Adair, Cherokee, Ottawa and Craig counties.
Residents say they are frustrated by the increase and that a permitting process with public notification is needed along with setbacks from sensitive streams, homes and community buildings.
“It’s terrifying,” said Bobbie Foreman of Leach. “Without water there is no life.”
Information from: Tulsa World, http://www.tulsaworld.com