EPA announces settlement with nation's largest egg producer for CWA violations

The Environmental Protection Agency and Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division announced a settlement with Cal-Maine Foods, Inc., one of the nation's largest egg producers, that resolves Clean Water Act violations at the company's poultry egg production facility in Edwards, Miss.

WASHINGTON, DC, April 13, 2015 -- Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division announced a settlement with Cal-Maine Foods, Inc., one of the nation's largest egg producers, that resolves Clean Water Act (CWA) violations at the company's poultry egg production facility in the town of Edwards, Miss.

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 U.S. Federal and Mississippi governments.

The settlement, a consent decree filed in federal court in the Southern District of Mississippi Northern Division, resolves alleged violations of Cal-Maine's CWA National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit at a large concentrated animal feeding operation that houses more than 2 million chickens.

Cal-Maine discharged pollutants from the production area into a tributary of a nearby creek without NPDES permit authorization and applied nitrogen-laden wastewater on fields at the facility during winter months when land application was prohibited and sometimes at rates that exceeded its permit requirements. Cal-Maine also committed hundreds of 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 must comply with all the terms of the settlement by April 30, 2016.

Once the pollution controls required by the settlement are implemented, EPA estimates Cal-Maine will cut discharges of nitrogen by 89,000 pounds and phosphorous by 20,000 pounds per year. EPA estimates it will cost the company approximately $418,000 to implement the settlement requirements and bring the Edwards, Miss., facility into compliance with state and federal clean water laws.

See also:

"EPA releases new website to track compliance status of public water systems"

"EPA awards over $17M in Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grants to address algal blooms"

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