Empire Kosher fined for environmental violations

NEW YORK (JTA) — Empire Kosher Poultry was fined $99,000 by Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection for repeat violations dating back to 2008.

The infractions at America’s largest kosher poultry producer, which has its plant in Mifflintown, Pa., included chemical spills, discharge of untreated industrial wastewater into the nearby Juniata River, improper storage of solid waste and a lack of reporting to state authorities of some unauthorized discharges.

For example, a state inspection on March 15 revealed an unreported industrial wastewater spill that an Empire employee said was from the chicken de-skinning operation area. Inspectors found a wastewater manhole that overflowed to the ground and into a storm water conveyance system, spilling chicken skin and fat into the areas.

The earliest citation, in May 2008, faulted Empire for having dysfunctional dissolved-air-flotation machines, not maintaining proper records, failing to provide secondary containment around storage containers in the feather pit, and having chemical spills and process waste in the feather pit.

As after other inspections, Empire told state authorities that it would take corrective actions.

On May 28, Empire agreed to pay fines totaling $99,000. Approximately $15,000 was paid to Pennsylvania’s Solid Waste Abatement Fund and another $84,000 will go to the state’s Clean Water Fund over a period of about five months.

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