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Friday, August 07, 2015

Looky here Delmarva Letter of Intent to sue Mountaire!

Food & Water Watch Finds Severe Permit Violations at Mountaire Farms, Inc.

Washington, D.C. –
Today Food & Water Watch, represented by both the Mid-Atlantic Environmental Law Center (“MAELC”) and the Widener University Delaware Law School Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic, sent Mountaire Farms, Inc. a notification that the organization is prepared to file suit if the company continues to violate the Clean Water Act at its poultry processing facility in Selbyville, Delaware.

In May of this year, the MAELC conducted a compliance sweep of 50 pollutant discharge permits in the state of Delaware. These permits are issued under the Clean Water Act and allow facilities to discharge pollutants into waterways. The Center found eight of the 50 permits had exceeded allowable levels of discharges under the permits. However, one facility in particular, stood out as the worst offender – Mountaire Farms.

Mountaire Farms is permitted to discharge pollutants into the Sandy Branch of the St. Martin River. Under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (“NPDES”) permitting program, the Delaware Department Natural Resources and Environmental Control issues permits to facilities that discharge pollutants into waters of the state. These permits set limits on how much pollution can be discharged from a particular facility. If a facility discharges in excess of its permit limits, it is in violation of its permit and subject to both state and federal enforcement.

Dating back to at least 2011, Mountaire Farms has had significant and continuing discharge violations for the categories of Biochemical Oxygen Demand, Oil & Grease, Ammonia Nitrogen, Total Suspended Solids and Enterococci. These pollutants can cause great harm to aquatic life, as well as threaten public health.

A troubling 94 percent of Delaware's river and streams are not fishable and 85 percent are not swimmable. The St. Martin River ranks last in the Coastal Bays for estuarine health. Delaware can no longer endanger the habitat for wildlife and fish, as well as the drinking water supply and tourism in surrounding areas with the lax enforcement of corporate polluters, such as Mountaire Farms. The "business as usual" model is threatening the recreation of the residents and tourists who enjoy St. Martin and Sandy Branch.

Today, Food & Water Watch has responded to these violations by sending a 60-Day Notice of Intent to Sue letter pursuant to the Clean Water Act for the facility’s violations of its state issued NPDES permit. “Companies like Mountaire contribute significantly to ongoing water pollution problems throughout their integrated and unsustainable system of meat production, from the contract farms where the chickens are raised to these facilities where they are slaughtered and processed,” stated Scott Edwards, co-director of Food & Water Justice, the legal arm of Food & Water Watch. “As is the case here, our state and federal officials rarely hold these companies accountable for their polluting practices, so it’s up to citizens to enforce the law and protect their waterways and communities.”

“Our goal is not only to ensure that Mountaire Farms takes the necessary steps to get back into compliance with its NPDES permit, but also that the facility is penalized for its damage to the environment over the course of the past five years. Facilities in Delaware need to be held accountable for their permit violations and we are ready to take action when the state will not,” says Hannah Leone, a fellow with the MAELC.

If Mountaire Farms continues to discharge pollutants as it has been, Food & Water Watch is prepared to move forward with litigation in order to protect the health of Delaware’s waters and the safety of its citizens.


Anonymous said...

Sue all the chicken companies , Perdue is next , dumping in the Wicomico every time we get a large amount of rain. Fitzwater street is the culprit , right Ireton ?

Anonymous said...

It's about time!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a Ray Wallace unsubstantiated hit piece to me.Where are your numbers? How many ppm of what chemicals? Are you using the numbers reported by Mountaire to the EPA or are you gathering your own evidence? Are you using a proper scientific method?

And you mention all the polluting they are doing at the chicken houses, yet you are not including that in your suit? Why not? Why spout off about it and then allow it to continue?

It seems to me this MAELC has a law degree, and not a chemical engineering degree. Isn't this the same outfit that went after the Hudson Farm folks for doing something totally legal, costing them 3 years and millions of dollars? Our tax monies are supporting and feeding these monsters, and it's time to cut off their "Food and Water".

Anonymous said...

7:56 its about time????? do you eat chicken?? do you want to continue to eat chicken??? you seem to think that these companies purposely try to destroy the environment. you buy into this pc crap. we have spent billions of dollars on these so called environmental trusts and have so for years. every year the bay gets a failing grade. wake up.

Anonymous said...

The Selbyville plant has pretreatment violations. If you want to get mad look at all the processing and rendering plants with NPDS permits. The industry is selling a lot of chicken. You will find most have several violations that have not been addressed. Its been a rough year for those plants trying to keep up with more and more pounds of chicken processed. Most are storing sludges on site and are shipping to PA for disposal. Big hurricane and one large load of phosphorus is in the bay. Check out lagoons on google around accomac,temperanceville,linkwood,georgetown,selbyvile,millsboro,harbeson,cordova just to name a few.

Anonymous said...

Widener - The law school bright enough to have Slo Joe as an adjunct faculty member. Nuf said!

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:36AM, where is your proof? I can assure you that your statement is false. Provide backup please!

Anonymous said...

don't defend these companies and certainly do not let them fool you. They count on the stupidity of people and their naivety.
There used to be 30 or so independent chicken processing plants on the Eastern Shore. Growers had a choice of where to sell their chickens. This competition kept the economy good. The Eastern Shore was prosperous and self sufficient. The competition also gave the employees the chance to work where they wanted to work, thus keeping wages higher.
Then the Big 3 got together w/the government and came up with the regulations to get rid of all the smaller competition.
The results are a blighted area w/nothing left but low paying jobs and workers relying on government entitlements to make ends meet which are coming from tax payers. So the chickens you are eating aren't so inexpensive after all. The hidden costs behind them are astronomical.
Don't let these companies fool you. They came up with the regulations and they need to be compliant.

Anonymous said...

Is this the new privatization of the regulatory agencies? Why haven't they made inspections before granting permits?

Anonymous said...

@1005 nice summation!