Chesapeake Bay Foundation, partners secure Consent Degree with Valley Proteins

MARYLAND – The Chesapeake Bay Foundation and its partners have filed a judicial Consent Decree that will require Valley Proteins to upgrade equipment, pay significant fines, and investigate groundwater at the site.

Once entered by the Dorchester County Circuit Court, the Consent Decree will settle a lawsuit brought by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Dorchester Citizens for Planned Growth, and the State of Maryland, after Valley Proteins violated its permitted wastewater pollution limits for years. The facility’s more than 40 violations over the previous decade have resulted in excess amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, fecal coliform bacteria, and ammonia entering the Transquaking River and the Chesapeake Bay.

We’re told the Consent Decree also aims to address community complaints related to the Linkwood rendering plant, ranging from excess algal blooms in local waterways to foul smells emanating from the facility. Valley Proteins primarily renders chicken carcasses and feathers into pet food and other products at the plant.

Included in the Consent Decree is the following:

  • Valley Proteins is ordered to pay $540,000 in civil penalties to the State of Maryland and provide $135,000 to nonprofit plaintiffs for new Transquaking River monitoring and restoration work
  • Valley Proteins must conduct a groundwater study, reviewed and approved by the plaintiffs, to evaluate whether the above ground wastewater treatment system, wastewater lagoons, and the facility’s septic system are contributing pollutants to groundwater at the site. If leaks are found, corrective actions must be taken
  • Valley Proteins must complete a plan to reduce odors emanating from the facility
  • Structural and procedural stormwater improvements must be made at the facility
  • Valley Proteins must share documents with CBF, ShoreRivers, and DCPG related to any plans to expand or upgrade the plant, as well as details related to meeting the requirements of a renewed discharge permit
  • If violations of the Consent Devree occur, Valley Proteins is ordered to pay penalties of $250 per day up to the first seven days of noncompliance, $500 per day for 8 to 120 days of noncompliance, and $1000 per day for every day after 120 days

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation says these terms are designed to address past violations and deter Valley Proteins from violating its wastewater permit in the future.

Categories: Environment, Local News, Maryland