Manhattan U.S. Attorney And EPA Announce Lawsuit Against Poultry Slaughterhouse For Violations Of Federal Clean Water Act
Defendants Admit, Acknowledge, And Accept Responsibility For Conduct Alleged In Complaint In Consent Decree Filed Simultaneously With Court
Defendants Agree to Injunctive Relief and Payment of $330,000 Penalty
Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Judith Enck, Regional Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”), announced today that the United States has filed and simultaneously entered into a consent decree settling a civil lawsuit against the KIRYAS JOEL POULTRY PROCESSING PLANT, INC. and KIRYAS JOEL MEAT MARKET CORPORATION (collectively, “Defendants”), for violations of the Clean Water Act (“CWA”) in connection with the operation of a poultry processing plant in Orange County.
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara stated: “For years, the defendants flouted the law by repeatedly discharging waste from their poultry slaughterhouse into the waters of the United States. Today’s consent decree will ensure that the defendants do not resume these illegal practices in the future and requires them to pay a significant financial penalty for their misconduct. ”
EPA Regional Administrator Judith Enck stated: “From disposing of chicken parts and fats directly into storm drains and sewers, to discharging animal waste into Ramapo River tributaries, this poultry processing plant has a long history of violating the Clean Water Act. This legal agreement and fine will help protect the Ramapo River.”
According to the allegations in the Complaint filed today in White Plains federal court:
At various times between September 2008 and March 2012, the Defendants have spilled and allowed the overflow of untreated wastewater from their poultry processing plant into storm drains and storm sewers that discharge into two tributaries of the Ramapo River, known as Highland Brook and Tributary No. 25, in the Village of Kiryas Joel, in Orange County, New York. Between January 2008 and May 2011, Defendants also failed to obtain a permit for the discharge of stormwater associated with industrial activities, and illegally discharged contaminated stormwater through storm drains. Finally, from January 2008 to April 2011, Defendants discharged substantial volumes of untreated wastewater to the local sewage plant, interfering with that plant’s operations and causing contaminated waste to be discharged into the waters of the United States in violation of the sewage plant’s permit.
In the consent decree filed today, Defendants admit, acknowledge, and accept responsibility for the following:
- At various times between September 2008 and March 2010, and again on March 18, 2012, Defendants took inadequate steps to prevent spills of untreated wastewater from overflowing into storm drains that discharged to waters of the United States.
- From at least 2008 until May 1, 2011, as dischargers of stormwater associated with industrial activity, Defendants failed to apply for an individual permit or to seek coverage under a stormwater general permit, as required by law.
- At various times from at least 2008 until May 1, 2011, Defendants took inadequate steps to prevent stormwater associated with their industrial activities from discharging into storm drains and storm sewers that ultimately discharged into waters of the United States.
- At various times between January 2008 and April 2011, Defendants discharged wastewater containing excess concentrations of pollutants into the sewage plant at levels that caused violations of the plant’s permit.
Pursuant to the consent decree filed today in the United States District Court in White Plains, Defendants will pay a civil penalty of $330,000. To ensure Defendants’ compliance with the CWA, Defendants also agree, among other measures, to conduct ongoing monitoring and recording of pretreatment operations and to submit to EPA an emergency operation plan and a corrective plan of action to prevent CWA violations from reoccurring. Defendants will be subject to substantial additional penalties if they fail to adhere to any of the deadlines in the consent decree and cause further violations of the CWA.
The consent decree will be lodged with the Court for a period of at least 30 days before it is submitted for the Court’s approval, in order to provide public notice and to afford members of the public the opportunity to comment on the consent decree.
This case is being handled by the Office’s Environmental Protection Unit. Assistant United States Attorney Tomoko Onozawa is in charge of the case.