Hog farm cleanup may cost $1 million

US - A market hog has not been raised at the former National Hog Farms operation east of Kersey for more than six years after closing following a short but stormy operation.

Now the abandoned site may cost the state as much as $1 million to clean up, as officials prepare legal action against Mike Cervi of Roggen, the current owner of the company, who is serving time in a federal prison in California on another environmental issue.

National Hog Farms, then owned by the billionaire Bass family of Texas, spread out over 23,000 acres of rangeland along the South Platte River. At its height, the $60 million facility built in the late 1980s had 170 employees and sent 4,000-6,000 hogs to market weekly.

Waste from that birth-to-market operation was spread over the grassland through irrigation sprinklers.

State health officials said during the summer, more waste was applied than plants could absorb, so it seeped into the soil. In the colder months, when the ground was frozen, that waste had nowhere to go and created odors.

Such applications created the environmental problems that continue today, and which are the center of the state's concerns. It was that odor that caused a dispute between two wealthy landowners.

Source: Greeley Tribune
calendar icon 23 February 2006
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