Mountaire’s chicken processing facility in Millsboro discharged nearly 1 million gallons of partially treated wastewater to the ground surface Feb. 13.
The release, reported to Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control by Mountaire, was caused by a mechanical failure.
Mountaire discovered the problem at 5 a.m., and it resulted in the release of between 750,000 and 1 million gallons of wastewater, DNREC spokesman Michael Globetti said.
Cathy Bassett, Mountaire spokesperson, said, “Our Millsboro wastewater treatment facility experienced a mechanical failure early this morning, causing treated wastewater to be released onto our property. Importantly, no water left our facility or reached Swan Creek. Cleanup began as soon as our alarm system notified our team of the malfunction.”
Bassett said the portion of the wastewater system that caused the release went into operation in January, and is designed to reduce nutrient levels in the wastewater. Mountaire sprays its treated wastewater on a nearby farm field.
“There is absolutely no risk to our employees, to the public, or to the environment as a result of this release,” Bassett said.
She said cleanup was due to be completed by the evening of Feb. 13, and the system would go back online by Feb. 14.
Globetti said DNREC will continue to investigate the incident while monitoring the company’s cleanup efforts.