Four people were evaluated and released from an area hospital after a chemical spill occurred at the Mountaire Farms poultry plant in Selbyville, Delaware.

According to an Associated Press report in the Delaware Business Times, an estimated 318 gallons of peracetic acid spilled at the plant. The incident occurred around 11:45 a.m. on July 12. A spokesperson for Mountaire stated that four employees came into contact with the chemical in a parking area of the plant. They were evaluated and released from a nearby hospital.

The incident is being investigated by the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC).

Other environmental issues involving Mountaire

The spill is one more environmental woe for Mountaire Farms, the sixth largest broiler company in the United States.

The company recently entered into a consent decree with DNREC over wastewater-related permit violations at its poultry processing operations in Millsboro, Delaware. Mountaire, in 2017, had been advised by DNREC that it had violated the conditions of its permits to treat and spary irrigate reclaimed wastewater onto nearby agricultural farmland. DNREC notified the company that it had exceeded allowable levels of nitrates, fecal coliform and chlorine.

The decree, which has been submitted for approval in Delaware Superior Court, requires Mountaire to pay a civil penalty of $600,000 and reimburse DNREC $25,000 for expenses incurred during its investigation, according to a press release from DNREC. However, that penalty can be reduced by 30 percent to $420,000 by offering an alternative water supply to nearby residents.

Since the two parties entered the consent decree, Mountaire has had two lawsuits filed against it on behalf of residents who live near the Millsboro facility. Most of those residents had expressed complaints about the quality of their water as a result of the discharge, but in one of those suits, a wrongful death claim was filed. The plaintiff claimed one resident died after suffering an asthma attack while at home and being subjected to odors and air pollution caused by Mountaire