Perdue Farms has agreed to pay $1.9 million and upgrade the wastewater treatment system for a chicken processing plant in Washington state to settle a lawsuit over pollution.
The payment and agreement are part of a consent decree to end a lawsuit brought by Waste Action Project, an environmental advocacy group. The money will be paid to nonprofit organizations devoted to water quality. Purdue Farms does not admit to any liability.
Waste Action Project sued Purdue in December over discharges from a plant in Mount Vernon, Wash., belonging to its subsidiary Draper Valley. The plant’s wastewater allegedly was consistently above the chemical oxygen demand load permitted by local regulations. The polluted water entered the Skagit River and Puget Sound, threatening salmon and other wildlife, the suit charged.
The improvements to be introduced by Purdue will include a biofilm reactor to more efficiently treat wastewater, according to a release from Waste Action Project.
The organization had sued the same plant earlier, resulting in a settlement in 2014 with a $400,000 payment and a similar agreement for an upgrade to wastewater treatment. However, Waste Action Project alleges that “those upgrades did not keep pace with Draper Valley’s process changes.”