According to forthcoming lawsuits, poultry plants operated by Cargill Meat Solutions and Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation are polluting the North Fork of the Shenandoah River in Rockingham County, Virginia.
The Waterkeeper Alliance, Shenandoah Riverkeeper and Potomac Riverkeeper environmental groups claim these plants have overwhelmed a dysfunctional wastewater treatment plant in Timberville, Virginia, which, in turn, has caused illegal overflows of ammonia, faecal coliform, phosphorus, nitrogen and industrial contaminants into the North Fork.
“Basically, these companies have been ignoring the fact that their waste is not properly treated,” Jeff Kelble, a river keeper with the Waterkeeper Alliance. “There are state and federal laws that require a cradle-to-grave ownership of waste, and we don’t think they’re meeting that obligation.”
However, Cargill spokesman Mark Klein said that lawyers should rather point their fingers at the treatment plant, operated by SIL Clean Water.
“While we have not seen the suit, based on the press release, we’d disagree with the allegations,” Klein said. “SIL had the permit and was in violation, not Cargill.”