Beef processor Swift Beef Company will pay $275,000 in civil penalties to resolve alleged violations of the federal Clean Water Act.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the company — a subsidiary of JBS, one of the largest meat processors in the world — failed to comply with Clean Water Act permit limits for numerous pollutants at its facility in Grand Island, Nebraska.
“Unauthorized pollution discharges threaten the health of our nation’s waters and the public use and enjoyment of those waters,” said David Cozad, director of EPA Region 7’s Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Division. “This settlement demonstrates EPA’s commitment to protecting watersheds, especially in areas overburdened by pollution, and creating a level playing field for businesses who are complying with the law.”
In the settlement documents, the EPA alleges that Swift Beef Company exceeded permit limits for biochemical oxygen demand, chloride, ammonia, nitrogen, and total suspended solids at least 50 times cumulatively between 2018 and 2023. Suspended solids are fine particles dispersed in water.
In addition to paying the penalty, the company agreed to perform an analysis to determine the root causes of the facility’s Clean Water Act violations and submit a compliance work plan to eliminate future violations to the EPA.
This is not the first time that the EPA has fined Swift for violating the Clean Water Act. In 2011, Swift paid a penalty of $1.2 million for violations similar to the ones in this current matter.
The EPA identified that the community surrounding Swift Beef Company’s facility was a potentially sensitive location for proximity to hazardous wastes. EPA is strengthening enforcement in such communities to address disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects of industrial operations on vulnerable populations.
Under the Clean Water Act, industrial facilities that discharge into protected water bodies must obtain permits and follow the requirements outlined in those permits to reduce pollution runoff. Failure to obtain a permit or follow the requirements of a permit may violate federal law.
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