Delaware Public Media

Millsboro residents sue Mountaire Farms

Jun 13, 2018

Lawyers representing a group of Millsboro-area residents announced today they are suing Mountaire Farms.

The law firm Baird Mandalas Brockstedt LLC is counsel for the residents who allege wastewater Mountaire Farms sprays onto nearby fields is contaminating groundwater with nitrates and endangering their health.

The poultry producer and state submitted a consent decree in Superior Court last week to resolve wastewater violations at Mountaire’s Millsboro plant.  That settlement included Mountaire spending more than $36 million in upgrades to its wastewater treatment facility and providing residents with an alternative water supply.

But Attorney Chase Brocksteadt says that does not solve the problem.

“Our experts say that is a drop in the bucket; that a much more extensive fix is needed. And we agree,” said Brocksteadt.

Brocksteadt points to expert reports in the areas of wastewater treatment, spray irrigation, sludge application, air emissions and health risks caused by nitrates. He says the analysis shows Mountaire’s wastewater practices are irresponsible.

“The facility itself is not only antiquated but mismanaged, and that the contamination we’re seeing now was preventable, but also inevitable based on Mountaire’s practices,” said Brocksteadt.

Brocksteadt says the lawsuit seeks to stop Mountaire from polluting the environment and compensate area residents for devaluing their property and endangering their health.

Mountaire said in a statement it has not received the lawsuit, but called the press conference announcing it a “publicity stunt.” The company anticipates the claims made will collapse under careful scrutiny.  It has also asked the court to reject the plaintiffs’ motion to intervene in the court’s consideration of the consent decree.