The EPA and US Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division have announced a settlement with Cal-Maine Foods, one of the nation’s largest egg producers, that resolves Clean Water Act violations at the company’s poultry egg production facility in Edwards, Mississippi.
Under the settlement, Cal-Maine will bring the facility into compliance with its state-issued water discharge permit, significantly reduce nutrient pollution discharges, and improve environmental data collection and reporting practices. The company will also pay a $475,000 penalty to be split evenly between the US federal and Mississippi governments.
The settlement resolves alleged violations of Cal-Maine’s Clean Water Act National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit at its facility in Edwards, a large concentrated animal feeding operation that houses more than 2 million chickens. Cal-Maine discharged pollutants from the production area into a tributary of a nearby creek without NPDES permit authorization, and applied nitrogen-laden wastewater on fields at the facility during winter months when land application was prohibited and sometimes at rates that exceeded their permit requirements. Cal-Maine also committed hundreds of water sampling, recordkeeping and reporting violations, the EPA says.
Once the pollution controls required by the settlement are implemented, EPA estimates Cal-Maine will cut discharges of nitrogen by 89,000 pounds and phosphorous by 20,000 pounds per year. EPA estimates it will cost Cal-Maine approximately $418,000 to implement the settlement requirements and bring the Edwards facility into compliance with state and federal clean water laws.