You can’t get away from it. Hazardous waste sites, polluting factories, leaking gas stations and many more environmental hazards are all around us. In my years doing environmental site searches I thought I had seen almost every type of hazard there was. Recently another one was brought to my attention however.

We always knew about factory farms and the massive risk they pose to neighbors from manure, odors and bacteria. An article in our news feed talked about how horse tracks are similar to factory farms and pose very similar health risks to neighbors. They have large concentrations of animals kept in a very small area who produce huge amounts of manure. The volume of manure actually produced at some of these larger horse tracks is almost equal to some smaller factory farms.

The article went on to talk about a race track near New Orleans that had just been fined over $2.7 million by the EPA for discharging the horse wastes into the nearby storm drains for the past six years. With 1200 horses and each creating 55 pounds of manure every day that was a huge amount of illegally disposed waste. People living near the racetrack were subjected to the odors from the manure which we know actually contains particles of poop, harmful chemical gases and possibly pathogens and viruses. Similar to another site where the horse manure created a health risk from elevated nitrates in the drinking water used by nearby residents the story was unclear if that also was an issue.

Keep in mind that a factory farm need not have tens of thousand of chickens or thousands of cows to be a risk. It also could be one of these racetracks you have as a neighbor quietly creating a hazard to your health.