Residents share concerns of hog facility at state hearing

By Beau Ebenezer

April 17, 2014 Updated Apr 18, 2014 at 11:02 AM CDT

WENONA, Ill. -- A proposed hog facility is stirring up quite the stink in rural Marshall County.

The plan would bring upwards of 20,000 hogs to a location outside of Wenona.

Manure would be stored at the facility and eventually used as fertilizer in surrounding fields. However, some neighbors aren't having it.

Life-long Marshall County residents are close to packing their bags if these hogs move in right down the road.

Opponents and supporters of the new facility listened in Thursday night at a state hearing.

Potential operators of the proposed facility, VMC Management Corporation, presented their plan to the Illinois Department of Agriculture.

It's still not sitting well with a large group of residents.

"It is not reasonable to expose residents to the negative impacts of the Sandy Creek Lane facility," said neighbor Lisa Phillips. "It will be sited in a valley, and pollution hangs in valleys."

Residents said about once a year, water from Sandy Creek rises above the surface at the site of the proposed hog facility.

Their biggest concern is the possible leakage of waste from the facility. The VMC said this site meets all state criteria.

The company has no concerns of pollution to the Creek and said the smell would also be minor.

"I have four kids of my own, said proposed site operator," Nicolas Rippel. "I take them to the farms with me all the time. They enjoy it. If I had any fear of odor or anything else like that, I wouldn't take my kids with me."

The hog facility will bring in 20 jobs and generate $2 million a year for the local economy.

Still, some said they will move out of their homes if the facility is approved.

The county must have a recommendation to the state by May 30.

The Department of Agriculture will have until June 14 to decide if the proposal meets all criteria.