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Cargill Pays Fine Over Water Quality

Cargill Meat Solutions Corp. was fined $200,000 and ordered to pay $250 special assessment to a victim of crime fund after violating its National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permit in Colorado.

Cargill’s meat processing plant at Fort Morgan, CO, which processes about 5,000 head of cattle each business day and generates 1.5 million gallons of wastewater, is limited under its permit to discharging total suspended soils (TSS) of 2,874 pounds per day and total fecal coliforms of 400 colonies per 100 milliliters.

Thumbnail image for cattle-feedlot.jpgTwice, according to its own samples, Cargill exceeded those limits, once on Aug. 27, 2003 and again on July 16, 2004.  On the first date, fecal coliforms measured 522 colonies per 100 milliliters.  On the second date, TSS was 4,332 pounds for the day.

Cargill plead guilty on the two misdemeanor counts.  Perhaps of more future importance, it agreed to disbarment from federal contracts if there are future violations.

Fort Morgan is on the South Platte River, which flows from the Colorado Rockies eastward into Nebraska where it connects with the Missouri River.

Cargill Meat Solutions is the second largest beef producer in the U.S., processing 7.6 million head of cattle a year.  At Fort Morgan, the company employs 2,000 people and makes two million pounds of beef products daily, operating three shifts.

It is a unit of Minneapolis-based Cargill Inc., which employs 158,000 in 66 countries.

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