Poultry Processor to Pay Big Penalty Over Contaminated Water

Wells have been contaminated with high levels of nitrates.

Poultry Processing

DOVER, Del. (AP) — A southern Delaware poultry processor has agreed to pay a $420,000 civil penalty and offer an alternative water supply to nearby residents whose wells have been contaminated with high levels of nitrates.

In a consent decree with state officials, Mountaire Farms also has agreed to take both interim and long-term corrective measures to address problems with the wastewater treatment system at its Millsboro plant.

While submitting the consent decree for approval in state court, environmental officials also filed a federal court complaint Monday claiming that Mountaire has violated the Clean Water Act and Resource Conversation and Recovery Act.

Mountaire slaughters about 2 million chickens per week in Millsboro.

Officials say the company has greatly exceeded allowable levels for applying treated wastewater and sludge from the treatment plant on nearby lands.