Mountaire Farms

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Perdue Farms operations in the Carolinas are returning back to normal after the torrential rains and wind from Hurricane Florence.

Last week the poultry company closed three of its processing plants in advance of the storm and move chickens from low lying areas.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that two of the plants are now up and running again with the third ready to restart as soon as the city begins supplying water at the end of the week.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - State environmental officials say a cleanup is underway after hundreds of gallons of a highly corrosive chemical spilled at a southern Delaware poultry processing plant.

Officials say the spill occurred about 11:45 a.m. Thursday at the Mountaire Farms plant in Selbyville. It involved about 318 gallons of peracetic acid, a chemical commonly used in the food industry as a disinfectant to guard against microbial contamination.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Another lawsuit has been filed against an Arkansas-based poultry company accused of committing wastewater violations at a Delaware processing plant.

The News Journal of Wilmington reports the lawsuit filed Thursday on behalf of more than 80 people primarily focuses on groundwater nitrate contamination near Mountaire Farms' neighbors in Sussex County. It seeks compensation and punitive damages for odors and water pollution it says is linked to near Mountaire's "illegal and reckless disposal of waste."

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Nearly 700 people will be part of a class action lawsuit against a Delaware poultry processor over wastewater violations.

A partner at law firm Baird, Mandalas and Brockstedt, Chase Brockstedt, tells WBOC-TV the lawsuit against Mountaire Farms will be filed Wednesday.

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Mountaire Farms is being hit with a federal lawsuit filed by the Delaware-based Baird Mandala Brockstedt LLC for allegedly contaminating groundwater around Millsboro.

The suit claims that the Mountaire violated the federal law including the Clean Water Act.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that late last year Mountaire was cited by state environmental regulators for spraying highly contaminated wastewater on farm fields near Millsboro.

The paper reports that the contamination produced unhealthy levels of nitrates in the surrounding private wells.

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Delaware state officials heard from the public last night over the latest permit request by Mountaire Farms for two anaerobic lagoons at the chicken plant in Millsboro.

WBOC reports that the temporary lagoons would be used for sludge that would be transported to a landfill.

But Mountaire has been dealing with last year’s wastewater treatment violations after increased nitrate levels were found in private wells near the plant.

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Mountaire Farms and elected officials told a gathering last night that they do not believe the poultry company is responsible for high levels of nitrates in wells near Millsboro.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that Mountaire Executive Vice President Michael Tirrell told the audience that he believe science will back up that claim.

He added that the company is willing to pay for drilling deep wells for property owners affected by groundwater contamination.

Meanwhile, Mountaire is designing a new wastewater facility with additional tanks to handle the flow.

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Mountaire Farms is offering to pay 88 neighbors of one of its chicken plants in Sussex County to dig deeper wells or connect them to a public water supply.

The offer comes after a wastewater discharge in which state investigators found that workers had sprayed highly contaminated effluent on hundreds of acres of farm land and failed to report it.

The company issued an apology for the anxiety suffered by resident in Millsboro and pledged to remedy the situation.

Company says it is now reaching out to those who are eligible.

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MILLSBORO, Del. (AP) - State environmental officials are holding a public hearing on a proposed expansion of a poultry processing plant in Millsboro.

Thursday evening's hearing involves a request by Mountaire Farms for a Coastal Zone Act permit to build and operate a third production line in a 5,300 square foot expansion at its facility on John J. Williams Highway in Millsboro.

Environmental officials say the expansion would result in increased air emissions of about three tons a year from natural gas burned in existing boilers to provide heat for scalding.

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The poultry industry attacked a measure in Annapolis that would make poultry companies responsible for absorbing excess chicken manure.

During a four hour hearing yesterday before a legislative committee Dave Patey with Mountaire Farms blasted the measure saying that it demonstrates that Maryland is becoming unfriendly to business.

Meanwhile, environmental groups staged a protest yesterday saying that the legislation would be better for small farmers because the poultry firms have deeper pockets.

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Around 74-hundred boxes of chicken, canned and dry goods were packed yesterday at Mountaire Farms in Selbyville by volunteers that will go out to roughly 60 churches, shelters, food pantries and social service agencies on Delmarva.

That’s 500 boxes more than last year.

Roger Marino, corporate director of community relations for the company, told the Wilmington News Journal that when he started 19 years ago they packed only 300 boxes.

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The driver of a Mountaire Farms tractor trailer was killed yesterday afternoon on US Route 113 just south of Kruger Road.

Delaware State Police say 46-year old Colette Childers of Lewes was pulling an empty trailer southbound when it veered off the right edge of the road and hit two trees head-on.

WBOC reports that police say Childers was properly restrained.

She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Delaware State Police are investigating the crash.