JBS Owned Swift Beef Co. fined $250,000 in Clean Water Act Violations 

January 1, 2024

Beef processor Swift Beef Company is set to pay $275,000 in civil penalties to settle allegations of violating the federal Clean Water Act, as announced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The company, a subsidiary of JBS, one of the world's largest meat processors, is accused of failing to adhere to Clean Water Act permit limits for various pollutants at its Grand Island, Nebraska facility.

According to David Cozad, director of EPA Region 7’s Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Division, "Unauthorized pollution discharges threaten the health of our nation’s waters and the public use and enjoyment of those waters." He emphasized that the settlement reflects the EPA's dedication to safeguarding watersheds, especially in areas burdened by pollution, and ensuring a fair playing field for businesses complying with the law.

The EPA alleges in settlement documents that Swift Beef Company exceeded permit limits for biochemical oxygen demand, chloride, ammonia, nitrogen, and total suspended solids over 50 times cumulatively between 2018 and 2023. Suspended solids refer to fine particles dispersed in water.

Apart from the financial penalty, the company has committed to conducting an analysis to identify the root causes of the Clean Water Act violations at its facility and submitting a compliance work plan to the EPA to prevent future breaches.

This is not the first time Swift has faced penalties from the EPA for Clean Water Act violations. In 2011, the company paid a $1.2 million penalty for similar violations.

EPA has recognized the community surrounding Swift Beef Company's facility as potentially sensitive due to its proximity to hazardous wastes. The agency is intensifying enforcement efforts in such communities to address disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects resulting from industrial operations on vulnerable populations.

Under the Clean Water Act, industrial facilities discharging into protected water bodies must obtain permits and adhere to specified requirements to minimize pollution runoff. Failure to obtain or comply with permits may constitute a violation of federal law.

Source: Western Ag Network, EPA