Center for Biological Diversity v. Swift Beef

Center for Biological Diversity v. Swift Beef

Public Justice represented the Center for Biological Diversity and Food & Water Watch in a lawsuit against JBS-Swift Beef Company to stop illegal discharges of slaughterhouse pollution into Colorado’s South Platte River.

The Lone Tree Wastewater Treatment Plant in Greeley receives up to 4 million gallons of wastewater each year from two slaughterhouses along the Front Range near the confluence of the South Platte and Cache la Poudre Rivers. For years the plant has been violating its Clean Water Act pollution discharge permit by discharging waste that violates toxicity standards into the Lone Tree Creek, a tributary of the South Platte River.

The Lone Tree Plant receives wastewater from lamb and beef slaughterhouses that slaughter between 5,500 and 8,500 animals each day. The waste products generated by the plants include animal fat, blood, meat, dangerous bacteria, ammonia and excrement. The beef plant also processes and preserves animal hides, creating waste loaded with salt. These pollutants can harm human health and kill fish and other aquatic life.

The Clean Water Act prohibits the discharge of any pollutant from “point sources,” like the slaughterhouses’ wastewater treatment plant, into waterways unless allowed by a permit. Permit violations are enforceable under the Act’s citizen suit provision. The suit seeks an injunction prohibiting JBS-Swift Beef Company from continuing to violate the terms of the Lone Tree Plant’s Clean Water Act permit and requiring that the companies take all necessary measures to prevent future violations.

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