Delaware Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Control (DNREC) secretary Shawn Garvin has recently issued a conciliation order by consent to Perdue Foods for multiple violations of the company’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit that occurred in 2015.
Perdue must pay a total administrative penalty of $77,300 and an associated $7,601 assessment for expenses associated with the department’s investigation. The order also states that Perdue made several operational changes and improvements following the violation that cost the company more than $1.3 million.
Perdue operates a poultry processing facility in Georgetown, Del., and has a wastewater treatment plant on site to treat the process and sanitary wastewater generated at the facility. Perdue's NPDES permit places certain restrictions and limitations on the amount and concentration of various pollutants that may be discharged from the treatment plant to Savannah Ditch.
“From May to July 2015, Perdue Foods exceeded the effluent limits found in their NPDES permit on several occasions,” DNREC stated. “Violations included non-compliance with concentration and/or loading limits for ammonia, total nitrogen (a nutrient) and enterococcus bacteria. Effluent violations from the facility added excess volumes of pollutants in the form of nutrients and potentially harmful bacteria to the state’s surface waters and contributed to the impairment of the state’s waterways.”
DNREC said Perdue took steps to enhance its treatment capability and address the immediate issue of the nutrient-rich effluent while also working to address the source of the issue. Action taken by the company helped limit the duration and extent of the upset. “Perdue has not been in violation of these parameters since then,” it added.
To offset a portion of the penalty from DNREC, Perdue has chosen to perform an environmental improvement project in conjunction with The Nature Conservancy, for which the company will convert 39 acres of farmland into forest. This will significantly reduce the loads of nitrogen and phosphorus pollutants going into the Broadkill River from the property to be converted.