Campbell’s Napoleon, Ohio, Plant Facing Wastewater Discharge Lawsuits

March 21, 2024
U.S. Dept. of Justice as well as two environmental groups have filed suits alleging the plant wastewater exceeds allowable pollutant levels into the Maumee River and eventually Lake Erie.

The Campbell Soup Co. has been sued by the U.S. Dept. of Justice, alleging that a company facility has been releasing wastewater with bacteria, phosphorus and other contaminants at concentrations above allowed limits into a river that leads to Lake Erie. The government claims that the Campbell’s Napoleon, Ohio, plant has violated permitted pollution limits thousands of times since 2018. The plant processes soup and beverages.

The DOJ lawsuit came only a few hours after a similar lawsuit was filed against the company by two environmental groups, and according to a Reuters report, it was expected the two suits would be combined into one. The lawsuits are asking the court to assess fines for more than 5,000 violations, which could cost as much as $64,618 each, and to force Campbell’s to upgrade the plant’s wastewater treatment facility.

Other than E. coli and phophorus, the lawsuits claim oil and grease, and dissolved oxygen and nitrogen levels exceed allowances.

The Napoleon plant discharges into the Maumee River, which then flows through the city of Toledo and into Lake Erie. A Campbell’s spokesperson told Reuters that the company takes the concerns very seriously and is working to resolve the concerns permanently.

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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