Meat & Livestock News

Upcoming Hearings on EPA’s New Meat Processing Wastewater Standards

Unrecognizable ecologist standing where sewage waste water meets the river and taking samples to determine level of contamination and pollution.

The meat industry is preparing for key dates, January 24 and 31, to discuss the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed rules aimed at enhancing the quality of water discharged from meat processing plants into public waterways.

Industry representatives and other stakeholders have until January 22 to register for a chance to present their perspectives on the potential impact of these rules on their operations and economic aspects. The first hearing, set for January 24, will be conducted online, while the second, on January 31, will take place at the EPA headquarters in Washington, D.C. These sessions are open for public registration, either for participation or attendance.

Released in December, the EPA’s proposed guidelines suggest several notable changes. Environmental advocates believe these will improve water quality standards. The proposed changes include:

  • Setting limits on phosphorus discharge from meat processing facilities.
  • Imposing more stringent limits on nitrogen discharge.
  • Establishing pretreatment standards for oil, grease, and other by-products of processing.
  • Applying limitations to both direct and indirect dischargers.
  • Introducing guidelines for managing high-salt waste streams.

Legal representatives for some meat processing entities are gearing up to challenge these EPA guidelines, indicating a significant debate ahead on the balance between industry practices and environmental protection.