Swift Beef Co. to Pay 1.3 Million for Environmental Violations

Posted by BBC News on Jun 18th, 2011 and filed under Environment News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Swift Beef Co., a subsidiary of Brazilian meat giant JBS S.A. and Greeley-based JBS USA, has agreed to pay $1.3 million to the U.S. and the state of Nebraska to settle alleged violations of the federal Clean Water Act and Nebraska state law at its beef processing plant in Grand Island, Neb., according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Swift has now spent more than $1 million in the Grand Island facility to reduce pollutants in its wastewater as necessary for discharge permits issued to the company from the state of Nebraska under the Clean Water Act.

“Swift will spend a significant penalty for its illegal discharges of wastewater that triggered interferences with the local water treatment system and damage to the aquatic ecosystem of the Wood and Platte rivers,” said Ignacia Moreno, assistant attorney general for the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the Justice Department. “The exact same industry that puts food on American dinner tables must also conform to the Clean Water Act that keeps our country’s waterways healthy, safe and clean.”

“Protection of our waterways is one of our highest priorities,” added Deborah Gilg, U.S. attorney for the District of Nebraska, in a Justice Department release. “Fouling our Nebraska water demands a harsh penalty to deter others from accomplishing this.”

According to the complaint against Swift, Swift dishonored its discharge permit on numerous instances between 2006 and 2011. The alleged illegal discharges caused disturbance with Grand Island’s water treatment works and resulted in a 2008 fish kill in both Wood and Platte rivers that killed an approximated 10,000 fish.

After the 2008 fish kill, Swift started voluntary improvements to its treatment system, the Justice Department explained.

The consent decree requires Swift to pay more than $1.3 million in civil penalty charges and damages, including a $1.2 million civil punishment that will be split between the U.S. and Nebraska. In addition, Swift will pay Nebraska $100,000 for infractions of a state 2008 administrative order and will pay the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission $4,705 to restock waters with fish and clams.

Swift’s Grand Island plant slaughters and processes about 5,800 cattle per day and employs about 2,700 personnel.

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