GAINESVILLE, Ga. – A poultry-processing plant owned by Pilgrim's Pride Corp. faces action by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which claims the company failed to comply with its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. Pilgrim's is a unit of Sáo Paulo, Brazil-based JBS SA. The company did not respond to a request for comment.

The action stems from an Aug. 27, 2014, inspection at the plant in Gainesville, Ga. The inspectors' report states "Maggots were observed on concrete, in pipes and in liquid flowing in a pip that crosses the parking area by the uncovered loaded Area." The report goes on to say that a disinfectant was applied after EPA inspectors asked about the maggots.

Inspectors also reported manure and feathers on the ground in multiple outdoor areas and floating fats exiting a water flume into to the city's system.

At the beginning of the inspection, according to the report, EPA inspectors were told that all drains go to the Gainesville wastewater treatment plant via Pilgrim's pre-treatment system. But a drain inlet in front of the complex's training center runs across a public street into a city storm drain.

Following the inspection, EPA wrote a letter dated Jan. 28 and addressed to Stephen James, Southeast director of environmental engineering for Pilgrim's. The letter stated that until Pilgrim's achieved compliance with the CWA, the company could face administrative penalties, compliance orders and civil and/or criminal actions.

EPA also conducted an inspection at a Mar-Jac Poultry Inc. plant in Gainesville. At the Mar-Jac plant, inspectors noted that a map of the complex failed to identify an unauthorized outfall on the west side of the site near a manhole with the pump for the first flush system. It is not clear what, if any, action will be taken against the company.

"According to facility personnel during the inspection, they were not aware of any recent leaks or spills of toxics that would have been exposed to stormwater," inspectors noted in their report on Mar-Jac. "Further discussions were held with facility personnel about documents provided by an area citizens group appearing to show stained or bloody water discharging from an outfall..." on the northwest side of the site.

The report noted that a company representative said there had recently been work performed in the manhole sump in the area of that outfall.