Environmental Concerns Top Objections To Arlington Chickens | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : News

Environmental Concerns Top Objections To Arlington Chickens

Play associated audio
Backyard hens are a great source of eggs, but some are concerned about where all the chicken waste goes.
Sarah Gilbert: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cafemama/1751133418/
Backyard hens are a great source of eggs, but some are concerned about where all the chicken waste goes.

As county leaders press forward with an urban agriculture initiative that would, among other things, allow backyard hens in Arlington, many residents say they are concerned about germs and disease. Specifically, residents wonder about what happens to all that chicken waste if fowl are allowed back into residential neighborhoods.

Rules against keeping livestock in Arlington date back at least a half a century — a time when the county was transforming from an agricultural community along the Potomac to an urban environment. Now the pendulum may be swinging in the other direction. Tomorrow, members of an urban agriculture task force will hold their inaugural meeting to consider how the zoning change might work.

George Mason University biology professor David Luther says the main public health risk from chickens is water pollution: "Like all organisms, we defecate a fair bit, and it all has to go somewhere. Generally for anything except humans, it doesn't go through water treatment plants. If the quantity is high, it can be a real problem for the local watershed."

One potential solution under consideration is to require chicken waste be disposed of in an environmentally sustainable way, although critics point out that would require creating a system of enforcement — one that would consume money and staff time. The task force is expected to issue a recommendation next year.

NPR

For The Midterm Elections, A Book On 'What It Takes' To Win

The midterm elections are less than two weeks away. Writer Michael Schaub recommends a book that explores what it's like to run for office and live through all the dramatic ups and downs.
NPR

A Wisecracking Biochemist Shares Her Kitchen ABCs

Shirley Corriher, author of Cookwise: The Hows and Whys of Successful Cooking, has tips on taking the bitter bite out of coffee, and holding onto cabbage's red hue while it's in the pan.
NPR

For The Midterm Elections, A Book On 'What It Takes' To Win

The midterm elections are less than two weeks away. Writer Michael Schaub recommends a book that explores what it's like to run for office and live through all the dramatic ups and downs.
NPR

New Facebook App A Throwback To Old Chatrooms

Facebook's new app, Rooms, harkens back to the days of 1990s anonymous chat rooms. New York Times tech reporter, Mike Isaac, talks about why having secret identities online is a good thing.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.