Pennsylvania beer maker Yuengling has agreed to spend about $7 million to upgrade and improve its environmental protection measures and pay a $2.8-million penalty for allegedly discharging environmental pollutants into a municipal wastewater treatment plant and contaminating the water supply.
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) jointly announced the consent decree with G. Yuengling & Son, which operated two large-scale breweries in the Greater Pottsville, Penn., area.
Most of the $7 million Yuengling agreed to invest will be spent on implementing an environmental management system to bring its operations into compliance with Clean Water Act rules and standards. These new environmental safeguards will be overseen by a third-party auditor to ensure compliance.
Federal prosecutors alleged that Yuengling violated U.S. environmental laws by releasing its industrial waste into publicly owned wastewater treatment facilities numerous times between 2008 and 2015.
U.S. prosecutors said the illegal discharges occurred at least 141 times and exceeded the limits for biological oxygen demand (BOD), phosphorus, zinc, and pH into the water supply.
By law, companies must coordinate discharges and pollutant limits with public authorities before discharging any industrial waste into public treatment facilities. In many cases, wastewater must be pretreated before it’s discharged. Justice officials said that the Greater Pottsville Area Sewer Authority alerted the EPA to Yuenging’s misconduct.
“Yuengling is responsible for serious violations of its Clean Water Act pretreatment discharge limits, posing a potential risk to the Schuylkill River, which provides drinking water to 1.5 million people,” said EPA Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin. “This history of violations and failure to fully respond to orders from the Greater Pottsville Area Sewer Authority and EPA to correct the problems resulted in this enforcement action.”
Source: U.S. Department of Justice