Cal-Maine, EPA reach settlement in Clean Water Act case
Cal-Maine Foods agrees to reduce nutrient pollution discharges, improve data collection and reporting at plant in Edwards, Mississippi
Cal-Maine Foods has reached an agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division that resolves alleged Clean Water Act violations at Cal-Maine’s egg production facility in Edwards, Mississippi.
Under the settlement, Cal-Maine will bring the facility into compliance with its state-issued water discharge permit, significantly reduce nutrient pollution discharges, and improve environmental data collection and reporting practices. The company will also pay a $475,000 penalty to be split evenly between the federal and Mississippi governments.
The settlement, announced by the EPA on April 13, resolves alleged violations of Cal-Maine’s Clean Water Act National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit at its Edwards facility, a concentrated animal feeding operation that houses more than 2 million chickens.
Cal-Maine Foods, according to the EPA announcement, discharged pollutants from the production area into a tributary of a nearby creek without permit authorization, and applied wastewater on fields at the facility during winter months when land application was prohibited. Cal-Maine was also accused of committing water sampling, record keeping and reporting violations.
Under the settlement, Cal-Maine is already developing and implementing: procedures for its egg production and land application areas to achieve compliance with its NPDES permit, an employee training policy, and improved record keeping and reporting practices. The procedures were submitted to, and reviewed and approved by EPA and Mississippi officials over the course of settlement negotiations. Cal-Maine has begun implementing these procedures and must comply with all the terms of the settlement by April 30, 2016.