Department of Justice and environmental groups accuse Campbell Soup of polluting Lake Erie



The U.S. Department of Justice and environmental groups have filed two lawsuits against Campbell, accusing the soup giant of polluting Lake Erie.

Both lawsuits allege similar claims that Campbell’s manufacturing plant in Napoleon, Ohio, has been dumping sewage and pollutants into the Maumee River, which flows into Lake Erie, for years. The case was filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District. . The two lawsuits are expected to be combined into one.

“Toxic algae in Lake Erie is not what Ohioans want from companies like Campbell,” said John, director of the Ohio Environmental Clean Water Program and one of the advocacy groups involved in the lawsuit. Rumpler said in a statement.

The facility generates millions of gallons of wastewater from canning operations, including thermal processing cleaning, mixing and filling cans and other containers to produce fruit and vegetable juices, sauces and soups. Contaminants found in the water included bacteria, E. coli and phosphorus, according to the lawsuit.

In a statement to CBS News, Campbell Soup said it has “taken a number of steps to improve our existing wastewater management operations and will continue to take immediate steps to address this issue.”

The company added: “We are planning capital investments to permanently resolve this issue.” “We continue to work with regulators and other stakeholders to improve our operations and comply with all environmental regulations.”

The government’s lawsuit, filed on behalf of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, sought “injunctive relief and civil penalties” for violations of the Clean Water Act.Last May, the Supreme Court narrowed the scope of action and curbed the EPA’s authority to regulate wetlands.

According to court documents, the manufacturing plant has allowed wastewater and pollutants to flow into the Maumee River for years, “impacting the plants and wildlife that depend on that water, reducing downstream water quality in Lake Erie, and potentially harming humans.” “It threatens the health of people.”

Bacteria found in water can cause respiratory illnesses, urinary tract infections, and other illnesses. Court documents say the wastewater increases dangerous algae blooms on the shores of Lake Erie.

Environment America and Lake Erie Waterkeeper allege in the lawsuit that the company dumps 5 million gallons of wastewater into the river every day. The environmental advocacy group said it notified the soup giant of its intention to sue in July last year.

“Western Lake Erie suffers from toxic algae blooms every year, largely due to pollution flowing into the lake from the Maumee River,” Sandy Bing, Lake Erie’s water manager since 2004, said in a statement. said. “Campbell Soup continues to violate legally mandated limits on emissions of phosphorus and other organic pollutants, which only exacerbates the problem.”

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