Kiryas Joel poultry processor to pay fines

by Erica Shaffer
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NEW YORK – Federal prosecutors are seeking $330,000 in civil penalties from Kiryas Joel Poultry Processing Plant Inc. and Kiryas Joel Meat Market Corp. on claims the processor dumped untreated wastewater into Highland Brook and the Ramapo River in Orange County, NY.

As part of a consent decree filed with the court, the plant operators admitted violations of the Clean Water Act from 2008 to 2012, and agreed to pay the fine. The plant remains open under strict compliance and mitigation requirements outlined in the consent decree. The plant must comply with the consent decree or face additional fines ranging from $100 to $2,000.

In a complaint filed in US District Court for the Southern District of New York, federal prosecutors allege Kiryas Joel discharged untreated wastewater containing chicken parts, salt, fats, oils and greases into storm drains and storm sewers that discharged into Highland Brook and ultimately into the Ramapo River. The complaint also states that the operation failed to obtain a storm water permit. Finally, the prosecutors say that so much wastewater was discharged into the Kiryas Joel publicly owned treatment works that the treatment plant was overwhelmed and wastewater was untreated. However, there is no evidence that Highland Brook or the Ramapo River were compromised by the pollution.

Officials with the poultry processor issued a statement saying that the discharges were “inadvertent and sporadic,” and that improvements implemented in 2011 at the plant have stopped the discharges.

Kiryas Joel is a village within the town of Monroe, NY. The majority of its residents are Hasidic Jews.

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