State alleges environmental violations by Valley Proteins

Complaint seeks relief and civil penalties for the alleged violations by the poultry rendering facility in Linkwood, Maryland.

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Maryland Department of Environment, Attorney General say rendering plant has violated the state’s environmental laws and regulations

The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) and Maryland Attorney General have filed a court complaint against Valley Proteins for violations of the state’s environmental laws and regulations.

The complaint, filed in the Circuit Court for Dorchester County, seeks preliminary and permanent injunctive relief and civil penalties for the alleged violations by the poultry rendering facility in Linkwood, Maryland.

According to a press release from the MDE, in required discharge monitoring reports from April 2019 through October 2021, Valley Proteins reported 40 effluent violations over a period of 598 days. Inspections conducted by MDE from January 2019 through January 2022 revealed additional violations, including pollutants in a position likely to pollute waters of the state, including into a nearby tributary of the Transquaking River; failure to implement stormwater pollution plan best management practices; numerous violations of total residual chlorine exceedances; unauthorized discharges of wastewater, sludge, and solids; and failure to operate the wastewater treatment plant with a certified operator.

“The Valley Proteins facility’s recent compliance record indicates a pattern of improper operations and poor decision making that threatens our water and air quality,” said MDE Secretary Ben Grumbles in the press release. “When significant violations are observed, MDE has an obligation to take equitable and timely enforcement action to ensure environmental accountability and to deter future violations.”

Recent air quality inspections by MDE also uncovered 89 parametric monitoring deviations on the air pollution control equipment, as well as violations of continuous air monitoring. Valley Proteins has since installed new monitoring equipment and performed maintenance on its scrubbers. Recent follow-up inspections confirmed that the plant has come back into compliance with its air emissions permit. However, during another inspection in October, MDE detected odors beyond the property line and there have been multiple complaints of odors in the surrounding neighborhood.

In December 2021, the facility suspended operations in response to an inspection report from MDE that listed numerous needed corrections.

Under the terms of an interim consent order issued on December 23, 2021, Valley Proteins is prohibited from discharging until the facility can comply with its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit effluent limits and can operate consistent with its NPDES permit.

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