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Battle Simmers Over Beef Plant’s Request to Discharge Treated Wastewater into SW Missouri River

Aug. 3, 2023
State regulators are weighing whether Missouri Prime Beef Packers can discharge into the Pomme de Terre River, which has had environmental issues in the past.

Concerns continue to fester over Missouri Prime Beef Packers’ request to discharge up to 350,000 gallons per day of treated wastewater from its processing facility into a southwest Missouri river that is already considered impaired — and the potential that the state of Missouri may allow it.

State environmental regulators proposed including the Pomme de Terre River, which meanders through the Ozarks in the southwestern part of the state, on a federal list of impaired waterways a few months ago due to E. coli contamination, according to The Missouri Independent. And critics of Missouri Prime Beef Packers’ proposal state the company’s environmental record at the plant points to why regulators should disallow the discharge.

The Missouri Prime plant processes more than 3,500 cattle per week and is located near Pleasant Hope, Mo., and would treat the wastewater then discharge it into the river directly. Currently, the reports say, the discharge is land-applied as fertilizer.

Opponents say the facility has violated environmental regulations in the past, and that the proprietary technology that the plant uses to treat the wastewater has not been studied and deemed effective. Missouri Prime did not respond to the news outlet’s request for comment.

The request is pending with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, and opponents have requested a public hearing on the matter.

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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