As a resident living 3 miles from Hickman’s Arlington Facility I fully understand Tonopah’s plight.
When I moved here in 1995 the Arlington factory was not there. It was still pristine desert. I thought I had a quiet place to live with clean air.
When I noticed Hickman’s Egg Ranch under construction I thought it would be an egg distribution center with pre-packaged eggs being warehoused for market. I was very wrong and the true horror was yet to come.
One night a horrendous acrid odor crept into my house and woke me at 3am. When I stepped outside to investigate the smell’s origin I started gagging due to the stifling concentration of ammonia gas in the air.
The next morning I realized it was the noxious smell of Chicken manure from Hickman’s plant that woke me from a sound sleep.
I complained to the AZDEQ, but no action could be taken due to the current laws on the books. It turns out the EPA laws that force us to smog test our cars and prevent the use of Fire Places in our homes during the winter are very lenient when it comes to agriculture and lives stock operations.
If I had known Hickman’s was going to be a Concentrated Animal Feed Operation (CAFO) producing tons of toxic, fly breeding manure that had to be air-dried so it would not spontaneously combust, I would have sold my property back at the height of the housing boom and looked elsewhere to live. But now it is too late. I waited too long and nobody is going buy property near the equivalent of a toxic waste factory for a price I would need to leave. Plus, on the worst days I cannot work outdoors because the ammonia odor is so intense that I get nose bleeds.
In my opinion, Hickman was very shortsighted and ill-considerate when he chose Arlington, and now Tonopah. He should have known this kind of pollution would be very detrimental to the health and quality of life for local residents. Instead, his only concern was the lower monetary cost and convenience of Interstate Freeway access.
The city of Glendale evicted Hickman using Eminent Domain, citing peace and public health. Read it here;https://www.glendaleaz.
Hickman should have learned from his experience with Glendale and chose a more isolated area or a location near pre-existing dairy farms where the emissions would not be noticed. But he again chose to put his stench factories within residential communities.
Arlington residents were caught off guard. And since we are not incorporated, using Eminent Domain is not an option for us.
The only options I have is to bide my time until property values come up to where I can sell and get out.
I don’t know if Tonopah can keep Hickman out, but if they lose the people there will have the same health problems and low quality of life issues that are now a permanent part of Arlington.