A Montgomery County meat processor has agreed to pay $2 million dollars in civil penalties for a series of water pollution violations that killed an estimated 25,000 fish in the Skippack Creek.
The fish kills occurred in August and December of 2007 and June of 2008 as a result of discharges from the on-site wastewater treatment plant at JBS Souderton, previously known as Smithfield Beef and before that Moyer Packing, or MOPAC, located on Allentown Road on Franconia. Pollutants entering the Skippack Creek included animal waste, E coli bacteria, ammonia, phosphorous, oil and grease. In addition to paying the $2 million in penalties, JBS is spending $6 million to install a computerized system to monitor equipment, leaks and water flow and build a new wastewater treatment plant to replace the old one, which is outdated. It is also improving record-keeping and preventive maintenance. The Franconia operation employs about 1,600 people and processes more than 200 million pounds of beef per year.