Region: village Bilyky, Kobelackyj rayon, Poltava oblast
Essence of the case: Protection of citizens` right to safe and healthy environment, protection of the components of environment (water, soil, air), protection of activists
Essence of the problem:
Residents of Bilyky village are suffering from permanent odour, sewage gas resulting from the operation of pig farm “Silski Traduciyi” LtD (former “Belgrancorm-Poltavschyna” LtD). The number of pigs at the farm exceeds the limit foreseen by project documentation. The current established sanitary protection zone (500m) do not correspond the annual turnover of pigs on this farm. Planed environmental impact mitigation measures and wastes management technology were not implemented: air emission filters for the pig farms ventilation systems were not installed, four-level manure treatment system was not built, the sewage treatment system was not converted into closed type.
Pig farm is constructed to accomodate 2500 sows and have full breeding and feeding cycle. It means that farm can accomodate 6000-6100 adult pig heads in total at the same time. Nevertheless the state veterinary department notified that at the begining of 2014 the pig farm accomodated 57247 pig heads, which exceeds permissible limit in 3 times. The formal note made on 15 August, 2016 says that the farm accomodated 49730 pig heads in July, 2014, and on September, 14, 2016 the pig farm accomodated 37981 pig heads.
According to the project documentation, the farm has to be equipped by the local wastewater treatment systems, the sludge composting site and the sewage system should be turned into closed type.
Water usage of the farm is projected to be 212 430 m3 annualy thus 2 artesian wells were installed.
The pig farm is located in village center and the Ministry of Health of Ukraine together with the state institution “O.M. Marzeiev Institute for Public Health, National Academy of Medical Sciences of Ukraine” allowed to decrease the minimal distance (sanitary protective zone) from the farm to the residential houses from 500 to 400 m from one side as the nearest residential house is located only 400m from the farm.
The farm failed to install the four-level system of waste water treatment (only one-level treatment system is installed). According to the information provided by Poltava State Regional Administration, the farm only had system of separation of solid and liquid manure and storage of liquid manure in lagoons. Farm did not apply treating agents, did not perform biological treatment and sewage desinfection. This resulted in terrible odour affecting not only residents of Bilyky, but residents of adjacent villages.
The houses of pig farms are not equipped by air cleaning filters. Local sewage system of the farm is not closed.
Pig farm extracted water without special permit for subsoil usage that was necessary for such activity until December 2015.
Pig farm polluted lands of village council by manure. Near 2,7 ha of lands of village council were used for storage of manure in September, 2016. Ecological inspection conducted inspection and calculated damages for land pollution. Inspection detected that manure was spread over 2,7 ha of lands and soil is polluted by ammonia. On February, 7, 2017 the Commercial Court of Poltava Oblast ruled in favor of State Ecological Inspection of Poltava Oblast in case concerning damages for soil pollution near the pig farm in Bilyky. The plaintiff asked the court to rule against “Silski Traduciyi” LtD on 3,6 mln UAH of damages resulted from manure spreading. The court confirmed that pig farm illegaly discharged manure without permission and thus it is liable for pollution of soil. On 27 March, 2017 Kharkiv Appeal Commercial Court ruled to dismiss the appeal of “Silski Tradyciji” and the decision of the court of first instance was left unchanged.
State Ecological Inspection of Poltava oblast addressed the courts two times with the suits on suspension of the activity of pig farm due to numerous violations of environmental legislation and permitting documents, but courts dismissed their claims.
Due to the blocking of the pig farm by local residents during September 2016 – April 2017 investors decided to close pig farm. At the end of April 2017 the pig farm suspended its operation.
EPL provides legal advice to residents of Bilyky concerning protection of their right to safe and healthy environment.
“Silski Tradycii” LtD v. 14 local residents of Bilyky concerning compensation of material damage
On October,18, 2016 company sued 11 local activists and then added 3 more defendants demanding to compensate the company 11 mln UAH of material damages inflicted to company by blocking of delivery of food for pigs and as a result the weight losses and pig dieoff. The case is being considered by the Oktyabrsky Rayon Court of Poltava city.
Consideration of the case is suspended untill the criminal cases initiated against the local residents-defendants suspected of blocking of pig farm are completed.
EPL prepared the law suit for Bilyky village council challenging the land lease agreement concluded between village council and LtD “Silski tradycii”, and consults local residents concerning these proceedings.