DNREC issues permits for Mountaire Farms waste treatment plant


The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control  issued two permits  to Mountaire Farms of Delaware to construct and operate an upgraded wastewater treatment facility at its Millsboro plant.

The upgraded facility will allow the poultry producer to address regulatory compliance issues and wastewater violations that led to the September 2017 wastewater treatment plant failure. The permits will also allow Mountaire to move forward with pollution reduction improvements at the plant.

 Mountaire is required to construct and operate the upgraded wastewater treatment facility as part of a May 2020 agreement with the Department. In addition, the Department has requested that the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware enter the agreement as a consent decree. The District Court’s decision is pending.

The  permits authorize Mountaire to construct  upgrades to its wastewater treatment facility and to put wastewater treatment improvements into operation when construction is complete.  

Among other improvements, the wastewater treatment facility upgrades will provide enhanced wastewater treatment capabilities resulting in total nitrogen concentrations of 10 mg/L or less in treated effluent, which aligns with state and federal drinking water standards.


The  highly treated effluent will then be spray irrigated onto permitted agricultural fields where additional nutrient reductions will occur through crops.

 The second permit issued by DNREC to Mountaire was a modification and renewal of Mountaire’s Operations Permit for on-site wastewater treatment and disposal, which authorizes spray irrigation of Mountaire’s treated wastewater on 893 acres of permitted agricultural fields in Sussex County.

The modification provides for more stringent waste  limitations and enhanced monitoring requirements and also authorizes Mountaire to place facility upgrades into operation once construction is complete.