Delaware Poultry Plant Settles Suit Over Groundwater Contamination

"Residents in Millsboro, Del., sued the local Mountaire facility, which they suspect is linked to their cancers and other serious health problems"

"Even with the stomach cramps, nausea and hurried trips to the bathroom several times a day, Gary Cuppels never suspected his tap water. He kept drinking it, brushing his teeth with it and bathing in it.

Not until he came home one night and found a large pallet of water bottles on his porch did Cuppels start to worry. A note from his “friends at Mountaire,” the chicken processing plant up the road in rural Delaware, said he should drink the bottled water instead of the groundwater his deep well pulled from the northern Chesapeake aquifer. That was in 2017. Investigators would later find that abnormally high level of nitrogen produced by the plant had long made the drinking supply dangerous, possibly even deadly.

On Monday, Mountaire agreed to pay $65 million to settle a state lawsuit filed by Cuppels and hundreds of other residents who rely on the aquifer for water. The nation’s sixth-largest poultry company, which is based in Arkansas, also entered into a federal consent decree that requires it to upgrade its facilities at a cost of $120 million and pay another $20 million for maintenance of the improved operations."

Darryl Fears reports for the Washington Post April 13, 2021.

Source: Washington Post, 04/14/2021