agriculture, Environment

This Week in Pollution: Randolph Packing cattle slaughter plant in Asheboro fined $48,000

The process of slaughtering cattle produces contaminants that, can be washed into wastewater discharge and into creeks, streams and rivers. (Photo: wikicommons)

The Environmental Protection Agency has fined Randolph Packing, a cattle slaughter plant in Asheboro, $48,000 for violations of the Clean Water Act. According to a consent agreement with the company, Randolph Packing had violated the terms of its federal wastewater discharge permit for five years.

From 2011 to 2016, the company discharged “industrial stormwater” into drains throughout the facility. That pollution then flowed into two drainage ditches and into Haskett Creek, a tributary of the Deep River. With the Haw, the Deep River forms the headwaters of the Cape Fear River Basin.

Several segments of Haskett Creek have consistently been placed on the federal impaired waters list, also known as the 303d. Contamination from several sources in and around the creek has contributed to poor natural habitats and low levels of dissolved oxygen. Waste discharge from slaughterhouses can also consume oxygen in water, and leaving too little for aquatic life.

The document didn’t detail the contents of “industrial stormwater.” However, large amounts of blood and other animal waste are common byproducts of commercial slaughterhouses.

In addition to its environmental violations, in 2010, Randolph Packing recalled 96,000 pounds of beef products it had shipped to from wholesalers because of possible E. coli contamination.

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