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Mountaire says it's making progress in wastewater facility improvements

Courtesy of Mountaire Farms

Mountaire Farms says it is making strides with short and long term solutions to improve wastewater treatment at its Millsboro facility.

Mountaire touted recent monitoring at its spray irrigation fields in a statement.

“Mountaire has achieved permit compliance with both Total Suspended Solids and Biological Oxygen Demand numbers, and fecal coliform numbers have been well under the permitted limits for months,” the statement said.

“Further, since mid-February, our Total Nitrogen levels have largely returned to the limits included in our original DNREC permit.”

Maria Payan, a regional consultant with the Socially Responsible Agricultural Project says she does not trust the words “largely returned” without seeing the monitoring reports.

“You really need to have data in order to tell the whole story,” Payan said. “Without those reports, we have no numbers."

Payan said she requested the data from Delaware’s Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control but could not access it. A spokesman for DNREC said the department is continuing to investigate Mountaire’s wastewater issue.

Mountaire aims to finish designing a new wastewater treatment facility by May. If approved, the facility would be operational by 2020.

The company received a permit from DNREC on March 30, that allows them to more quickly remove solids and store them in an on-site lagoon.

“Expediting the removal of these solids is just one of many key initiatives included in Mountaire’s interim corrective action plan, which is now well underway at a cost of over $300,000 per week,” the company said.

A group of about 50 Millsboro-area residents announced their intent to sue Mountaire last week accusing the poultry producer of endangering their health through its wastewater operation.

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