An open letter to Bob Culver

It has come to my attention that permits are being drafted for the installation of a 3-million gallon open storage tank for chicken by-products for the company Valley Proteins, Inc.  As a resident of the Hebron area, this has raised enormous concerns for us and our neighbors for a number of reasons, and we strongly urge you to reconsider the location of this storage tank. 

My husband and I purchased our home almost four years ago at the ages of 25 and 26.   We were first-time homebuyers, found an adorable property that we loved, in an area that we were thrilled with, and we couldn’t wait to get settled and begin enjoying our small acreage that would eventually become our home.  The installation of this tank will drastically change the way of life that we have created for ourselves, as well as for the entire Hebron/Mardela Springs area.

-The roads leading to the site are not suitable for the increase in heavy tractor-trailer truck traffic that this project will require.  Porter Mill Rd has not been redone in a number of years and has multiple locations where repairs are necessary every year.  Riggin Rd is even worse.  We currently see very few cars on Porter Mill and Riggin Roads, making them safe areas for myself as well as my neighbors to walk our dogs, ride bikes, or jog.  The increase in traffic to this area will make it significantly more dangerous for us to enjoy our small, quiet country roads, as well as deteriorating the already unstable road conditions.

-The installation of this tank will create a far-reaching stench that will permeate much of the air for the surrounding area.  This tank will contain chicken by-products including chicken blood, chicken feathers, chicken entrails, etc.  Dozens if not hundreds of your local residents will be negatively affected for an extended period of time, so long as this tank and any future additional tanks are utilized.  A similar tank is located at the sod farm immediately off of Route 50 on Porter Mill Road, and residents in the town of Hebron, located 2.5-3 miles away are affected by the smells. My husband and I live less than one-quarter of a mile from the site of this proposed tank. We will never be able to spend evenings on our screened-in porch, play with our dogs in our dog run, or work out in our yard with the stench that will emanate from this tank.  One of the primary reasons that we purchased our property was the land and outdoor spaces; this will be taken away from us should this plan be approved.

-This area is already prone to high insect and vermin traffic, especially mosquitos and flies.  The installation of this tank will highly exacerbate this traffic, disturbing local wildlife and affecting local residents’ quality of life.  I keep horses on my property and can say that we already have enough of a battle-keeping flies down. I utilize several fly traps around my paddocks and run-ins, feed-through supplements that prohibit the exoskeletons of fly larvae to form, thus limiting the number of new flys, daily applications of fly spray on my horses’ legs, sides, and belly, and a full ensemble of a fly mask, fly boots, and a fly sheet even on the warmest summer days in an effort to combat the flies that we already have in the area.  The smells and contents of this tank will draw more insects, causing physical harm to my animals and a significant nuisance to those of us who live in the affected area.

-Every resident in the area affected uses well water.  I cannot stress enough that an overflow of this tank may ruin our source of water and affect numerous dwellings.  I am extremely worried about this due to Valley Protein, Inc’s history of waste management.  In late 2018 and early 2019, there were numerous reports of their excessive, yet somehow legal, dumping of wastewater into the Transquaking River.  We are worried the installation of this one tank will set chilling precedence and over time turn the property and surrounding areas at Porter Mill Rd and Riggin Rd into a barren, waste-filled cesspool of by-product tanks and mismanaged waste products. 

-The installation of this tank will plummet our property values.  Most of us own our homes here, and the installation of a 3 million gallon chicken by-product tank in our backyards will cost most of us much of our hard-earned equity.  The installation of this tank will, in effect, rob us of much of our net worth.  This tank should be installed either where the traffic and effect to surrounding areas are mitigated by a buffer of sheer distance from the installation or where this type of installation is expected, i.e. a commercial neighborhood.  Wicomico County is a big place; a more suitable location for this installation can be found; a more suitable location for this installation should be found.

Please help us, Mr. Culver.  Please do not approve this project.  Please do not approve Valley Protein, Inc’s request to destroy this beautiful part of Wicomico County.  I would love to have the opportunity to speak with you regarding this proposed abomination in our peaceful little corner of the Shore.  Please consider the lives of the residents that you will be overturning should you approve this request.

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