JBS to pay $2 million for Pa. plant’s pollution problems

By Tom Johnston on 6/17/2010
JBS USA will pay $2 million in fines stemming from pollution issues at its beef plant in Souderton, Pa., as part of a settlement with the federal government, the Department of Justice announced.

The former Moyer Packing Co. facility was charged with dumping pollutants into nearby Skippack Creek, violating state and federal laws and causing fish kills, over a five-year period beginning in 2003, the department said in a news release. JBS bought the plant in 2008 from Smithfield Beef Group.

DOJ filed a complaint in December of that year. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PDEP) and Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission intervened this month.

"I will say that the new owners have been far more responsive even though the majority of the violations took place prior" to their purchase of the plant in 2008," said PDEP spokeswoman Deborah Fries. "They've done the things we've asked them to do."

As a condition of the decree, JBS is currently making upgrades at the plant to address problems, including construction of a new, $6 million wastewater treatment plant.

Souderton employs 1,600 people and slaughters some 2,000 head of cattle per day.