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EPA CHARGES POULTRY AND EGG COMPANIES WITH CLEAN WATER VIOLATIONS
Release Date: 10/2/1998
Contact Information: Bonnie Smith (215) 814-5543 October 2, 1998
PHILADELPHIA - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced that it has filed violations against three facilities. In separate administrative complaints, EPA alleged water pollution violations at two poultry processing plants and an egg products manufacturer.
"EPA will continue to safeguard human health and the environment through aggressive enforcement of the Clean Water Act. Today’s legal actions are part of government and industry efforts to improve the environmental record of this growing and important sector of our economy," said EPA Regional Administrator W. Michael McCabe.
Under the Clean Water Act, EPA works with states to establish standards that safeguard the water quality of rivers, lakes, and streams. States with approved Clean Water Act programs then issue permits to pollution sources, with discharge limits that protect water quality. Today’s complaints allege violations of the companies’ Clean Water Act permits. The companies have the right to a hearing to contest the alleged violations and proposed penalties.
According to EPA, Papetti’s Hygrade Egg Products, Inc.’s, "Quaker State Farms" egg products plant in Klingerstown, Pa., violated its pollution discharge limits 1,380 times between February 1995 and March 1998. Papetti’s wastewater treatment plant, which discharges into Rock Creek, allegedly exceeded limits on two pollutants -- total suspended solids and carbonaceous biological oxygen demand -- designed to protect water purity and aquatic life. EPA seeks a penalty of $125,000 for these violations.
According to the EPA, most of Papetti's alleged violations occurred after the Klingerstown facility increased production, but failed to complete a wastewater treatment plant upgrade requested by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.
On June 9, 1998, EPA ordered several steps to comply with its Clean Water Act permit, including upgrades to the wastewater plant and installation of a new meter to monitor discharge flow. The company has installed the new meter, and is in the design and bidding stages of the facility upgrade.
EPA also seeks a $125,000 penalty against College Hill Poultry, Inc., owner of a Fredericksburg, Pa., poultry processing facility, for violating its permit discharge limits on approximately 2,000 days between October 1993 and May 1998. According to EPA’s complaint, the Lebanon County plant violated permit limits on discharge of phosphorus, ammonia nitrogen, biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), total suspended solids (TSS), fecal coliform, dissolved oxygen, and maximum flow. The plant discharges into Beach Run, a tributary in the Susquehanna River watershed. On June 9, 1998, EPA ordered College Hill to install equipment and modifications necessary to comply with the Clean Water Act.
The Tyson Foods, Inc., poultry processing plant in Glen Allen, Va., which discharges wastewater into the Chickahominy River, allegedly violated its permit limits on 20 occasions between January 1994 and April 1998.
According to EPA’s complaint, the Tyson plant exceeded permit limits on discharge of total phosphorus, ammonia nitrogen, TSS, and BOD.
Excess levels of phosphorus and ammonia nitrogen can overstimulate algae growth and reduce crab and fish populations. TSS and BOD exceedences are also harmful to aquatic life and water quality. EPA seeks a $24,279 penalty for Tyson’s violations.
In addition to enforcement actions, McCabe noted that EPA has joined with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to develop a joint strategy for dealing with animal feeding operations, integrating the resources and regulatory programs of the two agencies. EPA is also at work to revise the pollution discharge standards for the poultry industry.
At the request of EPA Administrator Carol Browner, McCabe and other federal and state officials have met with representatives of poultry companies to discuss an aggressive, industry-led approach to reduce pollution.
McCabe said, "Our work with the poultry dialogue has focused primarily on poultry growers and the need for effective nutrient management. These enforcement cases are quite different. They are all brought against industrial processing facilities."