The Environmental Integrity Project’s new report, “Water Pollution from Slaughterhouses,” finds that three quarters of large U.S. meat processing plants that discharge their wastewater directly into streams and rivers violated their pollution control permits over the last two years, with some dumping as much nitrogen pollution as small cities – and facing little or no enforcement.
These slaughterhouses are owned by wealthy international companies, and they are contaminating waterways with bacteria, pathogens, nutrients, and other oxygen-depleting substances in rural, often lower-income, minority communities. EIP’s research found that many of the plants that are not violating their permits are actually discharging more pollution than those breaking the law. In such cases, EPA and state agencies are setting permit limits that allow the discharge of far too many toxins. The report lists the worst polluters and makes recommendations on how state and federal governments can do more to reduce this water pollution.