A Maryland county judge has ruled that the state must monitor and regulate gaseous ammonia generated by animal waste on poultry farms, tightening existing regulations under the Clean Water Act.
Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge Sharon V. Burrell said ammonia is similar to other byproducts generated by farms and so qualifies to be regulated to protect the Chesepeake Bay water.
Last week’s ruling adds uncertainty costs for Maryland’s chicken farmers, said a spokesman for the Delmarva Chicken Association.
Researchers at North Carolina State University in 2019 estimated that between 180 and 560 tons of ammonia from poultry farms in the Delmarva area could be landing in the Chesapeake Bay each year.
Other environmental groups also contend that emissions are increasing in part because of a higher number of birds being raised, larger-sized birds and the additional waste being generated at these farms.