USDA Poultry Processor Tabled


Concord, N.H. – Nov. 20, 2014 – After deliberating for two hours last night, the City of Concord Planning Board decided to table the continued application for a Major Site Plan Approval of Fournier Foods, LLC. The proposed 5,524-square-foot USDA poultry processing facility continues to receive substantial opposition from East Concord residents as seen last night with approximately 40 people in attendance.

Six members of the public with property across the highway from the proposed processor expressed their concerns ranging from odor to a need for a variance.

Last night’s meeting was a continued application from the Oct. 1 public hearing that lasted for five hours. The hearing resulted in the Planning Board hiring GZA GeoEnvironmental, an independent company to conduct an odor review of the future facility at 52 Locke Road off of Exit 16 from Interstate 93.

During the meeting, Michael North with GZA reported on the findings.  “GZA worked with the city, based on what was described by the applicant,” said North. “This is a slaughter facility with no cooking of chicken, so the primary odor concern for this facility is decomposition of organic materials from microbial activity.”

GZA looked at the exhaust stack and based on the information provided determined that it is appropriate and within the rules of thumb.

At the request of the Planning Board, the company also researched potential odors from chemicals, such as acetic acid and peroxyacetic acid from the scalder.  “It was determined that the usage of the chemicals are unlikely to cause perceptible odors offsite,” mentioned North.

The water system was also assessed. “Wastewater will drain through a fat, oil and grease (FOG) interceptor, where it will be treated to remove those components prior to discharge to the city sewage system.”

GZA’s opinion of the proposed facility is appropriate with respect to the minimization of nuisance and documented that the facility is well away from residential areas. The following minor recommendations were made:

  • The schedule for cleanout for the FOG Interceptor should consider not only grease and solids loading, but also the possibility of odor formation from anaerobic bacterial activity. Such a consideration may require shorter cleanout intervals than warranted by FOG loading alone.
  • Waste offal bins should not be stored outside for long periods of time before or after offal pickups and a Fournier Foods employee should be present during pickups to ensure that any spills are cleaned up promptly.
  • The applicant should develop an Operations and Maintenance Manual for the FOG interceptor and provide it to the City for approval prior to the discharge of any wastewater.

Some members of the Planning Board were concerned with the definition of “keeping” birds and questioned if it was an agricultural use rather than processing. “If that is the case,” said one board member.  “Fournier Foods would not be suitable for this industrial zoned area.”

Legal counsel for Fournier Foods, Amy Manzelli noted that Fournier Foods concurs with GZA recommendations and clarified that the company would not be feeding, raising or keeping birds at the facility. “There is only one purpose for the facility, processing,” said Manzelli.

Craig Fournier described the arrival of birds and talked about the USDA guidelines involving fecal material and also noted that a USDA inspector will be at the facility when birds are processed. “In general the birds will be alive at the facility for two hours,” said Fournier.  “Each bird will be inspected to ensure they have not been fed prior to delivery. Farmers who do not comply will be charged and the birds returned alive.”

Many board members questioned whether Fournier Foods should be classified as agricultural use rather than processing. Since slaughter is not included in the zoning code the Planning Board would like clarification from the legal department. In addition it was requested that the distinction between keeping and raising birds be defined. Later in the meeting, it was realized that the board was reviewing an out-of-date application.

To ensure a confident vote, the Fournier Foods application was tabled until the Planning Board meets again on December 17.