Smithfield Foods and a coalition of environmental groups have reached a settlement in two lawsuits that will result in stricter environmental protection measures at all 275 Murphy-Brown pork operations in
Under the agreement, filed in U.S. District Court in
The agreement calls for Murphy-Brown to identify and eliminate potential lagoon risks to groundwater; monitor potential surface water runoff from land application areas; and increase stream buffers, wetlands and implement other methods of protecting water quality.
Steve Fleischli, the executive director of the Waterkeeper Alliance, says that the agreement represents a milestone in efforts to protect
"Over time, we will see improvement in both ground-water and surface-water quality as a result of this settlement," notes Fleischli. "Our focus will now turn to convincing the rest of the industry to follow
Dennis Treacy, vice president of environmental and corporate affairs for Smithfield Foods, says that the company estimated the cost at several million dollars. He says some of the measures involve hiring consultants that will perform studies that will take months and even years to complete.
Other measures, like the installation of the rain and wind equipment, will occur faster. Given the court schedules for the agreement, Treacy estimates the farms would have the systems in place by midsummer.