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North Alabama ‘sludge farm’ shut down by state officials

MORGAN COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) — An out-of-state waste company has been ordered by Alabama state officials to shut down operations in Morgan County following ‘sludge’ spills.

The Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) has ordered Denali Water Solutions, based in Arkansas, to stop using a dairy farm as a storage and distribution site for poultry processing waste sludge, after several spills and a torn liner were found by the agency in one of three lagoons that contain the sludge.

Denali Water Solutions had already started closing the ponds and removing the sludge in March, but now they will be legally required to stop using the site for future poultry waste unless they get written permission from ADEM to continue.

The site where the spills and torn liner were located is in rural Morgan County, between Cullman and Hartselle, according to AL.com.

An old dairy farm known as “Hidden Valley” had been converted into a sort of holding area for processing the out-of-state poultry waste, which led to multiple complaints from North Alabama residents living in the area, who said the smell was absolutely unbearable.

In 2020, the same year Denali Water Solutions began using the Morgan County site, ADEM implemented regulations for using biosolids as fertilizer. They have now proposed updating those rules to address the storage operations like the one in Morgan County. Those updates are scheduled to be reviewed in June by the ADEM Commission.

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