As part of an agreement with the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC), Perdue Farms invested its wastewater treatment plant in Georgetown, Delaware, and will also fund a Nature Conservancy water quality improvement project.

Both actions are in response to intermittent wastewater discharges reported and addressed by Perdue in 2015.

According to DNREC, Perdue, which operates a poultry processing plant in Georgetown and has an onsite wastewater treatment plant, exceeded the effluent limits found in their permit on several occasions. Those violations included noncompliance with concentration and/or loading limits for ammonia, total nitrogen and enterococcus bacteria. Effluent violations from the facility added excess volumes of pollutants in the form of nutrients and ptotentially harmful bacteria to the state’s surface waters, and contributed to the impairement of the state’s waterways.

As a result of a consent agreement between DNREC and Perdue, 39 acres of agricultural land at the Edward H. McCabe Preserve in Sussex County will be restored to a natural state, eliminating agricultural runoff and groundwater transfer of nutrients in the Broadkill River Watershed.

“The Nature Conservancy of Delaware is pleased to receive these settlement funds from the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control,” said Richie Jones, state director. “This reforestation project will not only lead to improved water quality but will also provide new habitat for birds and wildlife.”

According to DNREC, Perdue took steps to enhance its treatment capability and address the immediate issue of the nutrient-rich effluent, while also addressing the source of the issue. It added that Perdue’s action helped limit the duration and the extent of the upset.

Perdue has not been found in violation since that time, the agency stated.

Also in relation to the violations, Perdue was assessed an administrative penalty of $77,300 and an associated assessment for expenses associated with DNREC’s investigation.