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PA CALIFORNIA POULTRY FARM PLEADS GUILTY TO CLEAN WATER ACT VIOLATIONS
Release Date: 01/23/98
FOR RELEASE: FRIDAY, JANUARY 23, 1998
CALIFORNIA POULTRY FARM PLEADS GUILTY TO CLEAN WATER
On Jan. 14, Foster Poultry Farms, located in Merced County, Calif., pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California in Sacramento to negligently discharging approximately 11 million gallons of stormwater polluted with decomposed chicken manure into the San Luis National Wildlife Refuge in violation of the Clean Water Act. Foster Farms also pleaded guilty to violating the Endangered Species Act by discharging polluted water which eliminated the vernal pool tadpole shrimp, a species protected under the Act. Between December, 1994 and April, 1995 polluted water containing ammonia, nitrogen and other byproducts of the chemical decomposition of chicken manure leaked through cracks in the pipe, flowed into vernal pools at the refuge and killed tadpole shrimp and other aquatic life. To date Foster Farms has spent approximately $750,000 on improvements to the stormwater retention and distribution systems at its manure storage yard. Foster Farms has also agreed to pay a criminal fine of $500,000, a substantial portion of which shall be used to enhance National Wildlife Refuges in the Central Valley of California. The case was investigated by EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.