EPA Orders Foster Poultry Farms to Stop Discharging Pollutants Into Louisiana Waters

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a cease and desist administrative order to Foster Poultry Farms in Claiborne Parish, Louisiana, for unauthorized discharges of pollutants into a tributary of Leatherman Creek.

On Jan. 26, 2012, the EPA inspected the hatchery and found unauthorized discharges of pollutants from its process wastewater lagoon to an unnamed tributary of Leatherman Creek. Leatherman Creek drains into Black Creek Bayou and it in turn drains into the Red River.

“A chicken hatchery should be raising chickens not pollution levels in nearby rivers,” said EPA Regional Administrator Al Armendariz. “We expect poultry farms to comply with laws that protect water quality.”

Foster Poultry Farms, doing business as Foster Farms Athens Hatchery, operates a chicken hatchery located approximately two miles east of Athens on the north side of Louisiana Highway 518 in Claiborne Parish. The facility has been ordered to immediately stop all discharges of pollutants into waters of the United States.

Water quality across the United States is threatened by phosphorus and nitrogen, two nutrients present in chicken litter. In excessive amounts, nutrients often cause an explosion of algae that robs water of oxygen, causing fish kills.

As a result of the inspection, Foster Poultry Farms has been ordered to immediately take action to stop all discharges of pollutants from its process wastewater lagoon. Within 30 days they must submit to the EPA and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality a certified summary, including photographs, that document the unauthorized discharges have been stopped.