Mountaire offers to dig deeper water wells for neighbors

Mountaire Farms is offering complimentary installation of deeper water wells or possible connection to a public water supply for the owners of about 88 properties in the area south and west of the company’s poultry plant in Millsboro, Delaware.

Roy Graber Headshot
(Thiago Felipe Festa, Freeimages.com)
(Thiago Felipe Festa, Freeimages.com)

Mountaire Farms will be offering complimentary installation of deeper water wells or possible connection to a public water supply for the owners of about 88 properties in the area south and west of the company’s poultry plant in Millsboro, Delaware.

The offer comes a way for Mountaire to make things right in the community after it was advised by the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) that it has violated the conditions of its permits to treat and spray irrigate reclaimed wastewater onto nearby agricultural farmland. DNREC notified the company that earlier in 2017 it had exceeded allowable levels of nitrates, fecal coliform and chlorine.

Some residents of the area who are on private water well systems have expressed concerns over elevated levels of nitrates in their drinking water.

Up to this point, Mountaire has provided bottled water or filtration systems for its neighbors, but on December 15, it offered a more permanent solution to helping its neighbors with the offer to dig their wells to depths typically not affected by nitrates commonly found in shallow groundwater.

“Mountaire Farms has been an integral community partner and economic driver in Delaware, supporting over 5,000 jobs at our plants, thousands of related jobs, and hundreds of growers and farmers in our local communities. For over 100 years, our company has made the communities where we live and work a top priority, and we take our neighbors’ concerns very seriously,” Michael Tirrell, Mountaire executive vice president of processing operations, said in a press release.

“We have cherished the trust of the Millsboro community for nearly two decades, and we will do everything necessary to keep that trust and continue being a good corporate neighbor for years to come.”

The water permit violations took place in August, when people responsible for monitoring the wastewater system, allowed solids to build up in the wastewater and allowed water to be released without proper levels of oxygen in the system, said Sean McKeon, Mountaire’s director of communication and community relations.

“We had several employees here who were not doing their jobs. They were responsible for operating our wastewater treatment systems and they did not do their jobs properly,” he said. “They were dismissed from the company. They do not work with us any longer.”

Further steps to improve wastewater situation

Mountaire is presently working with DNREC to assure that the wastewater quality problems are no longer problems. The company has committed to a two-phase plan to improve the situation.

The first phase of the plan is to increase the oxygen levels, increase the biosolid removals and increase its water analysis at the Millsboro facility. The phase also includes increased and different staffing, said McKeon.

That phase will take about six months to complete, according to McKeon.

The second phase, involves a complete upgrade of the wastewater treatment system at the Millsboro facility.

The company’s investment in the two phases, combined, is expected to be between $30 and $35 million.

Page 1 of 34
Next Page