Egg producer Cal-Maine Foods, Inc. has entered into a settlement that resolves alleged violations of the Clean Water Act at the company's poultry egg production facility in Edwards, Mississippi.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division announced on Monday that Cal-Maine Foods has agreed to bring the facility into compliance with its state-issued water discharge permit, significantly reduce nutrient pollution discharges, and improve its environmental data collection and reporting practices. The company will also pay a penalty of $475,000, to be split between the U.S. Federal and Mississippi governments.
Cal-Maine is accused of discharging pollutants from the site into a tributary of a nearby creek without permit authorization. Authorities also claimed that the company 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, officials said.
To address these concerns and achieve compliance with its Clean Water Act National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit, Cal-Maine is developing and implementing procedures for its egg production and land application areas. It will also establish an employee training policy and improved record-keeping and reporting practices.
The company is required to comply with all the terms of the settlement by April 30, 2016.
According to the EPA, the pollution controls required by the settlement will cut discharges of nitrogen by 89,000 pounds and phosphorous by 20,000 pounds per year.