WASHINGTON – A federal judge sentenced House of Raeford Farms Inc. for 10 counts of violating the Clean Water Act, according to the US Department of Justice. The judge ordered the company to pay a fine of $150,000 and a special assessment of $4,000. House of Raeford also received two years of probation.
Federal officials charged that House of Raeford allowed employees at the company's slaughter and processing facility in Raeford, NC, to bypass the facility's pretreatment system and send untreated wastewater directly into the city of Raeford's wastewater treatment plant without notifying city officials. The Department of Justice said the city's wastewater treatment plant did not have the capacity to adequately treat the wastewater.
The wastewater was contaminated with blood, grease and parts of slaughtered turkeys, according to the agency. The city plant is responsible for treating industrial, commercial and residential wastewater before it is discharged to Rockfish Creek in Hoke County, NC.
"The bypasses and failure to report them were in violation of House of Raeford’s pretreatment permit as well as the city’s sewer use ordinance," DOJ said in a statement. "Many of the bypasses took place while House of Raeford was subject to a consent order with the city that required it to construct a new pretreatment system and comply with all requirements of its pretreatment permit. A number of the bypasses were recorded in log books kept by House of Raeford Inc. wastewater operators, and were never revealed to the city."