Palmyra chicken disposal smell raises concerns for community

NOW: Palmyra chicken disposal smell raises concerns for community

PALMYRA (CBS 58) -- Neighbors in Jefferson County are up in arms over a smelly situation. They were told the burial of 2.7 million chickens would have no lingering smell, but that was wrong.

Work continues at the burial site. Workers, not wearing masks, but they may want to, not because of COVID, but because of this.

"Describe the smell. Like dead animals, a lot of dead animals," said neighbor Laura Ingalls.

This dirt pile off Hooper and Zion in Palmyra is where Cold Spring Egg Farm is buying 2.7 million chickens, after the avian flu was confirmed in the commercial poultry flock.

"Anybody of any official rank had kept saying if it's composted correctly there will be no smell," said Kimberly Wortman, another neighbor.

The Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) told us last month, a thick cover of compost carbon would be placed on top and underneath the carcasses, and that would absorb odors. A DATCP spokesman today, on April 20, said the smell may be coming from that carbon. Neighbors say "No way. It stinks like when a mouse dies in a trap house in your garage".

"I suppose mice and chickens maybe smell a little different, but it's that awful dead animal smell. And you're smelling it like I am right now, yes, I absolutely am right now," said neighbor Donna Hoffman.

"Some days are worse than others. The humidity definitely brings it about. The changes in the wind pattern sometimes make it unbearable," said Wortman.

Over a mile away from the burial site and even here we're smelling that awful stench.

"When the wind comes from the south then the smell is just all over here and there's no way to get away from it. It's a very sickly, sweet, nauseating smell," said Hoffman.

"You can't do anything about it, it's just gonna take time. It's very sad," said Ingalls.

We reached out to Cold Spring Egg Farm to see if they have a plan on how to handle the odor but didn't get a return call. Neighbors can register complaints with DATCP at the Avian Influenza line at (608)-224-4902.

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