47 ABC - Concerns over the ground contamination in Millsboro have hit a fever pitch.Mountaire has been under fire since last year when they were cited for contaminating ground water in the Millsboro area.
On Monday, the chicken poultry company spoke to 47 ABC to tell their side of waste water controversy.
F. Michael Parkoski, the attorney for Mountaire tells us the chicken company was actually the one to report the incident to DNREC and took immediate action once they were cited by the state. Mountaire fired employees that were responsible for the incident and began providing bottled water to households that some believed to be affected.
With threats of potential litigation, the company is speaking out and admits they could have addressed the public sooner.
“Anytime a company comes under attack, by class action lawyers, you have to take it seriously. I think so much of this is because of the adverse publicity came out with much explanation. I would say Mountaire came out somewhat late in providing an explanation,” says Parkowski.
Despite not providing information sooner to the public, the company does want to clear the air about what they believe is a misconception. Officials say they do not believe that upset at the plant led to high levels of nitrate found in nearby wells.
“We know and feel very confident in saying the upset condition that occurred in the fields , the spray fields at Mountaire had absolutely nothing to do with the elevated nitrate levels in those wells that were somewhat distant. The reason we say that is twofold. The groundwater travels very slowly, it travels 50 to 100 feet a year," says Parkowski.
According to Mountaire, that means there is no way it could have reached the affected area so quickly. Mountaire also believes that high nitrate levels have been a part of Sussex County for decades. The chicken company has cited studies from the late 1970's that show increased levels.
Mountaire has been in Millsboro since 2000 and they tell us they've always strived to be in compliance with regulations. However, now the company is taking additional steps to prevent any future problems with a massive upgrade at the water treatment facility. We're told the project will cost 30 million dollars and take up to 2 years to complete.
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