Perdue Farms Inc. and the company's contract grower Hudson Farm in Berlin, Md., did not pollute the nearby Chesapeake Bay and Pocomoke River, or violate the Clean Water Act, according to a federal judge. The decision closes a three-year lawsuit filed on March 1, 2010, by Waterkeeper Alliance Inc.

The civil suit was filed against Hudson Farm based on a pile of material on the property that was assumed to be chicken manure, but was instead municipal sewage sludge from Ocean City, Md., that was used to fertilize crops. The Maryland Department of the Environment inspected the farm, confirmed the pile was biosolids, asked the Hudsons to move the pile and the Hudsons complied. Lawyers for the Waterkeeper Alliance then argued manure leaving the poultry houses from ventilation fans and foot traffic polluted a ditch along the farm which leads to the Pocomoke River.

"We feel like this was a lawsuit against all of us, and we are pleased that Judge Nickerson ruled that the Waterkeeper Alliance had not met the standard of preponderance of evidence in its argument," said National Chicken Council President Mike Brown.