Missouri may deny meat packer’s request to dump wastewater in river

By Allison Kite

State regulators are poised to deny a request from a southwest Missouri meat-packer to discharge treated wastewater directly into a river already impaired by E. coli. 

Missouri Prime Beef Packers requested permission from the state to treat wastewater from its meatpacking operation near Pleasant Hope using a proprietary microbe technology and discharge it directly into the Pomme de Terre River. 

Right now, the company applies its wastewater to surrounding land as fertilizer.

But the Missouri Department of Natural Resources last month posted a draft denial of the request to its website. It will accept public comments until early January before making a final decision.

“Hearing the concerns from the public, we really started to dig in then on that technology, and there are a number of questions that we did not have answers for,” said John Hoke, director of the Department of Natural Resources’ water protection program. 

An undated photo of the Pomme de Terre River, which runs through Webster, Greene, Dallas, Polk and Hickory counties. A meatpacking company near Pleasant Hope wants a permit to discharge its wastewater into the river, which is already proposed on the list of impaired waterways.

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