Pasture in the Chesapeake Bay watershed

Maryland Permits Embattled Delmarva Renderer to Increase Wastewater Discharge

Feb. 8, 2023
Valley Proteins Inc. is permitted to increase wastewater discharge — just four months after settling lawsuits accusing it of polluting the Transquaking River.

Valley Proteins Inc., a Linkwood, Md., poultry rendering facility, has been granted a new permit to increase wastewater discharge into the nearby Transquaking River as it expands its facility — just four months after settling lawsuits accusing it of discharge violations that polluted the waterway which leads to the Chesapeake Bay.

The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) discharge permit went into effect Feb. 1, and authorizes an average of 150,000 gallons of wastewater discharge per day. It also allows for a possible expansion of the process wastewater flow to a potential average of 575,000 gallons per day into the Transquaking River. The permit was initially proposed in 2021, and regulators claim that restrictions have been tightened in response to public comment, but environmentalists in the region are not convinced MDE has gone far enough, given the company’s past record.

The Linkwood facility was temporarily shut down in early 2022 by the state of Maryland, and the company was sued by the state and environmental groups, after a discolored discharge was shown in drone footage coming from Valley Proteins’ outfall into a waterway leading to the Transquaking River. Irving, Texas-based Darling Ingredients was in the process of acquiring Valley Proteins at that time, which was completed in May 2022.

The company settled the lawsuits in September, promising to remedy the wastewater issues and paying $540,000 to the state, plus another $160,000 to the environmental groups for water quality monitoring and restoration.

About the Author

Andy Hanacek | Senior Editor

Andy Hanacek has covered meat, poultry, bakery and snack foods as a B2B editor for nearly 20 years, and has toured hundreds of processing plants and food companies, sharing stories of innovation and technological advancement throughout the food supply chain. In 2018, he won a Folio:Eddie Award for his unique "From the Editor's Desk" video blogs, and he has brought home additional awards from Folio and ASBPE over the years. In addition, Hanacek led the Meat Industry Hall of Fame for several years and was vice president of communications for We R Food Safety, a food safety software and consulting company.

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