Poultry Industry News, Comments & More

EPA Intends Updating Effluent Rules


The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency will update water pollution rules for red meat and poultry facilities. This action results from lawsuits filed by environmental groups. The EPA has authority to regulate effluent discharge under the Clean Water Act and there is obvious concern over release of effluents containing high levels of phosphorus that degrade the quality of streams and wetlands.


A secondary motivation for the review of water standards relates to the proximity of processing plants to areas with low income and minority residents, a preoccupation with the USDA and other agencies within the current Administration. 


It is estimated that there are 7,000 plants of which 400 large facilities are covered by water discharge standards.  Depending on the stringency of the regulations, most broiler plants with existing adequate water treatment will be compliant.  The problem, apparently, relates to small, unregulated plants with direct discharge into waterways. The proposed standards will be issued for comment in 2023 but will probably not be enacted until 2025 followed by inevitable legal challenges.


It is ironic that USDA is attempting to “restructure the meat industry” by financing small-scale operations that are most likely to generate pollution and fail to comply with welfare regulations.

Copyright © 2023 Simon M. Shane