Seaboard Foods received the “go-ahead” on its plans to build a swine complex that could house up to 144,000 hogs in west-central Kansas.

According to reports Seaboard could build up to 120 barns, at 1,000 hogs a barn, an investment estimated at $30 million.

Movement on the Greeley County location was awaiting Kansas Department of Health and Environment review and approval on the facility’s wastewater permit. That came this week, following the department’s public meeting on the issue held on Dec. 6.

As the Garden City Telegram reported, KDHE received nine letters from seven individuals as a result of its request for public comment. The department sent letters to the meeting’s attendees announcing the permit’s approval and addressing each of the 14 issues that the public questioned.

Odor concerns, water-use issues and the effects of waste collection sites on water quality were among the topics the public questioned.

KDHE will require setback distances from habitable structures, as well as an "Odor Control Plan" to address potential odor issues.

Regarding water use, department officials cited that the facility will use existing water rights. Overall, the estimated use is 25 percent of the water rights purchased for the facility.

As for water quality, KDHE says it will not be an issue provided Seaboard complies with existing requirements. These include having a thick clay-soil lining for the waste pools to protect surroundings from pollutants such as ammonium, a main pollutant associated with waste retention pools. Any facility runoff will be stored in clay-lined basins around the facility to be used for fertilization of nearby farm and rangeland, reports.

Facility supporters look for the new development to revitalize the county’s economy—the smallest county in the state. "I'm eager for the opportunity of growth here in Greeley County," says Christy Hopkins, community development director for Unified Greeley County. The last reported estimates suggest that the project would bring 12 to 15 jobs to the county.

Tom Farmer, a member of the Unified Greeley County Board of Supervisors and mayor of Tribune, Kans., told the Garden City Telegram, "Tax on the land will be a lot higher with something on it. It could bring in employees — employees with children. Our schools are funded by numbers.” He added that Seaboard has not asked for any tax incentives to build the facility.

Source: Garden City Telegram,