The company was found not guilty on four other counts, and Plant Manager Gregory Steenblock was acquitted of all 14 charges brought against him.
House of Raeford allowed employees to send untreated wastewater, contaminated with blood, grease and other body parts from slaughtered turkeys, directly into the city of Raeford's wastewater treatment plant for 16 months, according to the Department of Justice. “Publicly owned wastewater treatment plants must be protected from companies that cut corners by discharging wastewater illegally,” said Maureen O’Mara, a special agent with the Environmental Protection Agency.
House of Raeford said it maintains that wastewater going into the sewer was effectively treated by the city's treatment plant. “The government repeatedly admitted during the trial that none of the materials it claimed went into the City of Raeford’s sewer system ever reached the environment,” said the company. “House of Raeford completed a $1.4 million upgrade to its wastewater pre-treatment system in September 2006 that solved the issues that led to the trial.”
House of Raeford faces a maximum fine of $500,000. Sentencing has been scheduled for Nov. 28.