Water Resources Board suggest different permit process for poultry farmer

Friday, August 2nd 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

TULSA, Okla. (AP) _ The Oklahoma Water Resources Board has denied a temporary permit request from an Ottawa County landowner who wants to build a poultry farm.

The application by Thomas and Crystal Handrich was turned down because the temporary permitting process wasn't the appropriate route for such a request, Brian Vance, a public information officer for the board, said Thursday.

The board suggested that the Handrichs file an application for a regular permit, Vance said.

The couple sought the temporary permit to meet the needs of their planned poultry operation.

``We're going to apply for a commercial permit,'' their attorney, Larry Oliver, said.

Thomas Handrich has signed an agreement as a contract grower with the Siloam Springs, Ark., poultry processor Simmons Foods.

The six planned poultry houses, to be located near Wyandotte, would handle about 26,500 birds at a time. Those six houses would need roughly 3 million gallons of water annually, estimates from the Oklahoma State University Extension Service said.

Anyone using 1.7 million gallons of water or more is required to get a permit from the Water Board.

``I think the contention surrounding this and the calls we have received indicated that there would be some sort of protest to this application,'' Vance said.

``The regular permitting process is really the appropriate place to address such concerns.''

In a lawsuit filed June 26 against the proposed operation in Ottawa County, neighbors predicted that the planned houses would result in contaminated groundwater, excessive odors and health threats for residents.

The neighbors also claimed that the farm will overtax nearby rural roads, contribute to air and ground pollution, deplete the water table and decrease land values.