Farm News: State Shuts Down North Alabama ‘Sludge Farm’ After Spills

April 27, 2022

The Alabama Department of Environmental Management has ordered an out-of-state waste company to stop using a north Alabama dairy farm as a storage and distribution site for poultry processing waste sludge...


There have been multiple spills and a torn liner in one of three lagoons that holds the sludge. The company, Denali Water Solutions, already begun to close ponds and remove sludge in March, but now will be legally required to stop using the site.

Neighbors say the company had been using the Hidden Valley site as a storage lagoon and mixing facility for biosolids from poultry processing houses since late 2020.


The cease and desist order cites Denali for violations include:

1. Spraying sludge too close to a tributary of Crowdabout Creek

2. Spraying sludge on saturated ground during a rain event

3. Overflow from one of the storage lagoons in which the “solidified grease cap” breached the liner material of the holding pond.


These biosolids are the unused sludge taken from wastewater treatment facilities at industrial poultry processing plants.

Using biosolids as fertilizer is cheaper than sending the material to a landfill and can save sewage treatment plants and food processing operations money in landfill fees.

However, residents living near sites where the sludge is applied often complain of oppressive odors.

These are just a few of the dangers of corporate agriculture and their lack of concern for the environment, local communities, and our health in general. Continuing our support of local producers instead of companies like Denali is an invaluable step in offsetting greed such as this. Shop small, know what you're eating, where it's from, who grew it, and how!


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