To go from these chickens... (photo by Romula Zanini)
...to chicken filets requires quite a bit of processing and a lot of waste. The EPA tightened its regulations on how much pollution is allowed to get into waterways... but some critics note the regulations are not as strict as when first proposed. (Photo by Rene Cerney)
The largest meat and poultry processing plants in the country must follow new rules regarding how much pollution they release into waterways. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Tom Weber reports:
The largest meat and poultry processing plants in the country now must follow new
rules regarding how much pollution they release into waterways. The Great Lakes Radio
Consortium’s Tom Weber reports:
The new rules apply to about 170 plants in the country that turn cows and chickens into
hamburgers or filets. Wastes will have to contain fewer nutrients like ammonia and nitrogen
before it’s released into water. Mary Smith heads a division within the Water Office of the
Environmental Protection Agency. She says the rules are not as strict as when first proposed.
That’s in part because of concerns from the industries that it would cost too much. Smith
says the limits are tougher than what the law was before. But she adds these aren’t the only
industries that release waste into the water.
“So we can’t really kind of single out the meat industry, necessarily. Everyone, in a sense,
needs to do their part. But it’s another piece of the puzzle in terms of getting cleaner water.”
The new rules mark the first time poultry plants will have these kinds of limits. The EPA
estimates meat and poultry plants use 150 billion gallons of water each year. That water needs
to be cleaned of wastes like manure, blood, and feathers before it’s discharged.
For the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, I’m Tom Weber.