Arsenic in water closes Minnesota meat plant
April 15, 2009
by Bryan Salvage
BUFFALO LAKE, MINN. — North Star Beef Inc.’s beef slaughtering plant in Buffalo Lake has closed because its water contained high levels of arsenic and the plant owner couldn't afford to correct the problem, according to The Associated Press. As a result, more than 200 workers at the plant lost their jobs when it closed last week.
William Gilger, the plant’s owner, said he couldn't afford to meet U.S. Environmental Protection Agency restrictions that took effect in 2006 and that banks wouldn't lend him money.
Approximately two-thirds of Minnesota's groundwater has arsenic, most of it occurring naturally. Ten parts per billion is considered a safe amount of arsenic for drinking water. Mr. Gilger said a Minnesota Department of Health test last summer of the plant's water found 18.4 parts per billion of arsenic in the water.
Arsenic in the water supply wasn’t the only problem the plant faced in recent months. It also fell behind in payments to suppliers and a fire caused at least $1.1 million in damage to the facility, AP said.
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