SALISBURY, Md.- Perdue Foods and the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) have reached an agreement in which Perdue will pay an administrative penalty of $77,300 and an associated $7,601 assessment for expenses associated with the DNREC’s investigation into the company’s violations of its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit.

Perdue Foods has a NPDES permit that places certain restrictions and limitations on the amount and concentration of various pollutants that may be discharged from its Georgetown, Maryland, poultry processing facility. Perdue exceeded the effluent limits in its NPDES permit on more than one occasion from May to July in 2015. Perdue made efforts to enhance its capabilities and was successful in limiting the duration and extent of pollution aff3edting the Savannah Ditch.

“While we strive for perfection in our wastewater operations, we experienced an upset in the biological systems of the treatment plant, resulting in periods of elevated nutrient discharges,” said Steve Levitsky, vice president of sustainability at Perdue in a statement. “We immediately reported those incidents to DNREC and proactively took action that prevented a recurrence of those issues.”

In the agreement, DNREC notes that Perdue “investigated the violations of the permit and immediately made several operational changes,” and made upgrades a total cost of more than $3.3 million.

Also as a result of the consent agreement, Perdue will fund a Nature Conservancy water quality improvement project. Thirty-nine acres of agricultural land at the Edward H. McCabe Preserve in Sussex County will be restored to a natural state, eliminating agricultural runoff and groundwater transfer of nutrients in the Broadkill River Watershed.

“The Nature Conservancy of Delaware is pleased to receive these settlement funds from the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control,” said State Director Richie Jones in a statement. “This reforestation project will not only lead to improved water quality but will also provide new habitat for birds and wildlife.

“This will be a win-win for both people and nature, which is a goal we strive for at the Nature Conservancy.”

According to DNREC, “Perdue has not violated the permit wastewater discharge limits … since July 2015.”

“We are pleased that DNREC recognized the steps we took to correct the problem, and that they have agreed to let us fund an Environmental Improvement Project on Nature Conservancy land to meet the obligation of our administrative fine,” added Levitsky.