Buried poultry might pose risk to farmers

Farmers in Korea fear their water might be contaminated by dead poultry.

The Korean Ministry of Environment and Ministry of Agriculture announced recently that farmers in Korea are set to get better access to clean drinking water from tap water pipelines set up by the government. Fears exist, though, that groundwater might be contaminated by leachate, a liquid that drains from landfills that contain the carcasses of poultry culled during an outbreak of avian influenza in 2003.

Since the 2003 outbreak, poultry at 722 sites across the country were slaughtered and buried in accordance with laws for preventing the spread of contagious diseases among livestock.

Burial sites had to be five meters (16.4 feet) deep, filled with quicklime and covered with vinyl sheeting. According to experts, these sites are prime conditions for the formation of leachate, which would have to be extracted after a designated time of build-up. Without removal, the risk of tears in the vinyl sheeting and leachate contaminating surrounding land and water sources increases. In response, the Korean government assured that it would take steps to address experts' concerns.

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