News Feature | June 28, 2016

Yuengling Takes Deal Following Clean Water Act Charges

Sara Jerome

By Sara Jerome,

The Justice Department announced in June that it has reached a deal with the beer maker Yuengling over alleged Clean Water Act (CWA) violations.

“In a consent decree filed in U.S. District Court in Harrisburg, the Pennsylvania brewery — America's oldest — agreed to spend about $7 million to improve environmental measures and pay a $2.8 million penalty,” The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Federal authorities alleged that Yuengling released industrial wastewater into public treatment plants, according to the report.

The government said the company flouted the pretreatment requirements of a discharge permit, failing to respect limits for biological oxygen demand (BOD), phosphorus, and zinc over 140 times in a seven-year period. The government says industrial wastewater that is not sufficiently treated before it goes to a public plant can degrade the facility.

“Companies must obtain and comply with permit limits on discharges of industrial waste that goes to public treatment facilities, which in many cases require ‘pretreatment’ of waste before it is discharged. The case was referred to EPA by [a sewer authority],” Philadelphia Business Journal reported.

Under the terms of the deal, Yuengling must improve its environmental practices.

“The consent decree includes a requirement to implement an environmental management system (EMS) focused on achieving CWA compliance at the facilities. Yuengling must hire a third party consultant to develop the EMS and a third party auditor to ensure proper implementation at the facility operations,” according to an announcement from the Justice Department.

“The company said the agreement strengthened Yuengling's environmental protocols. The brewery wastewater isn't toxic, but the organic materials can upset the Greater Pottsville Area Sewer Authority's treatment process,” The Associated Press reported, citing company officials.

U.S. EPA Regional Administrator Shawn Garvin emphasized the gravity of the allegations.

“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,” Garvin said. “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.”

To read more about brewery wastewater visit Water Online’s Water & Wastewater Treatment For The Food & Beverage Industry Solutions Center.

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