Palmyra bird-flu carcass composting begins, neighbors concerned

In Palmyra Monday, March 28, contractors started transporting the nearly three million bird-flu infected chicken carcasses to a compost site. Neighbors' concerns extend beyond the smell.

No trespassing signs have been posted up and down Zion Road amid work on the chicken carcass compost site. Neighbors just up the street say it's the egg farm that's trespassing on their quality of life.

Down the normally quiet country road, Dustin Sudbrink couldn't ignore the extra traffic passing his home Monday.

"It's one of those smells that it just takes your breath away," said Sudbrink.

It's not just the smell, but the sounds of trucks coming and going as a project to contain a bird flu outbreak moves forward.

"It's not the normal smell that we get from the countryside. It's a rotting flesh-type smell," said Sudbrink.

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection says dump trucks began hauling some of the nearly three million infected chicken carcasses to the compost site Monday. A spokesman told FOX6 the remains will be compiled with wood chips in windrows which will generate heat to deactivate the virus and deter other wild animals from digging in.

The state says this is the most efficient and environmentally-friendly way to proceed.

People in the area aren't convinced.

Joyce Pelate boards her horse, Landslide, at the Cornerstone Reining Horses stable just north of the project. She worries it could cause contamination that would hurt people and horses alike.

"Is it gonna affect the water? The people that live out here? Their well water? And all of the livestock have to drink that water, so that's a major concern," said Pelate.

Late Monday, the state established a phone number for questions from the public: 608-224-4092. The state says it will be staffed from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. 

The DATCP says once construction is complete, the compost process should take around 30 days.


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