BALTIMORE, MD. — Poultry rendering company Valley Proteins LLC, a subsidiary of Darling Ingredients Inc., agreed to pay a civil penalty of $540,000 in a settlement regarding repeated violations of Maryland’s environmental laws and regulations.

The consent decree, made public on Sept. 12, was filed by the Office of Attorney General on behalf of the Maryland Department of Environment in the Circuit Court of Dorchester Country. According to the lawsuit, Valley Proteins’ Linkwood, Md., facility allegedly discharged pollutants into the Transquaking River for over a year, which was in violation of its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit and the state’s water pollution laws.

“Valley Proteins repeatedly discharged harmful pollutants — including nitrogen, phosphorus and fecal coliform — into a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay,” said Attorney General Brian Frosh. “These violations of our environmental laws threatened fragile ecosystems and our treasured Chesapeake Bay. This settlement and hefty penalty send a strong message to Valley Proteins and others that they are not free to pollute Maryland’s waters and air.” 

The settlement requires Valley Proteins correct its violations in addition to the civil penalty. The company must investigate wastewater lagoons for leaking pollutants, remediate any contamination and upgrade its current wastewater treatment system, among a few additional improvements.

“When the Valley Proteins facility’s operations threatened the quality of our water and our air, the Maryland Department of the Environment took an enforcement action to assign accountability and to deter future violations,” said Maryland Secretary of the Environment Horacio Tablada. “We are pleased to now have a strong, enforceable agreement that will allow this important facility that serves the agriculture community to continue to operate while achieving environmental compliance and helping us to meet our water and air quality goals.”

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