A Missouri-based poultry company has agreed to settle violations of the Clean Water Act with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and to pay a $47,700 civil penalty for illegal wastewater discharges, the EPA has announced.

In May and October last year federal inspectors visited the poultry facility near Green Ridge, operated by H and M Farms, LLC, and found a series of violations on-site. The 384,000-bird facility was found to be illegally discharging wastewater into nearby tributaries of Elk Branch and Camp Branch. Poultry litter and manure was stockpiled outdoors, without any run-off prevention during rain. In addition, the inspection revealed poor maintenance of the buildings where mortality composting was managed, as well as confinement barns.

According to a statement released by the EPA, litter and manure from concentrated poultry feeding operations can be a threat to water quality, public health and the environment. Polluting waterways with wastewater and manure can put aquatic life at risk, it added. That is why it is critical for farms to maintain outdoor areas and facilities in a proper way, so as to prevent pollution and protect people and the environment, commented EPA regional administrator Karl Brooks.

As part of the settlement, H and M Farms has certified that its facility is now in compliance with the Clean Water Act. The consent agreement is available for public comment over a 40-day period before becoming final, the EPA said.