Montgomery County co will pay $2M to settle fish kill complaint

    A beef processor in Franconia Township, Montgomery County will pay penalties and damages to settle allegations that the company caused three fish kills in the Schuylkill River Basin.

    A beef processor in Franconia Township, Montgomery County will pay penalties and damages to settle allegations that the company caused three fish kills in the Schuylkill River Basin.

    JBS Souderton, which used to be called the SmithField Beef Group, will pay $1.9 million to Pennsylvania and the federal government.

    The U.S. Department of Justice says polluted water from the plant killed nearly 25,000 fish between 2007 and 2008.

    Kelly Heffner is a deputy secretary with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

    Heffner: You can be going along for months at a time doing absolutely, positively the right things and then you have a unfortunately maybe one bad day or something gets away from someone and you have an unfortunate incident like a fish kill.

    Heffner says Souderton opened a new wastewater treatment plant last year, and since then pollution levels from the plant seem to comply with state clean-water requirements.

    In addition to $1.9 million in penalties, Souderton has agreed to pay $100,000 in damages to the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission which helped investigate the allegations against the company.

    U.S. States Attorney Zane David Memeger says JBS Souderton released water that contained unacceptable levels of ecoli, grease, ammonia, and phosphorus that hurt wildlife in Skippack Creek.

    Memeger: Companies like JBS Souderton support the economy, but with that benefit, there are some responsibilities, in particular there’s a responsibility to ensure that our environment is not impacted by their conduct.

    The settlement also requires Souderton to improve its training, record keeping and equipment maintenance.

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