Permit application withdrawal puts Mountaire’s Millsboro expansion plans on hold

MILLSBORO – Mountaire’s plans for extensive expansion at its Millsboro processing facility are on hold.

Mountaire Farms of Delaware has withdrawn its application for a permit to expand its Millsboro processing facility on Rt. 24. The company intends to re-submit its Coastal Zone Act permit application once wastewater issues are resolved.

Mountaire Farms of Delaware Inc. recently notified Delaware’s Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control the poultry company is voluntarily withdrawing its application for a Coastal Zone Act permit.

“We are making this withdrawal at this time due to a recent upset condition in the processing plant’s wastewater treatment facility, which upset condition will preclude reaching the post-expansion effluent levels forecast in the application until system upgrades are in place,” stated Mountaire spokesman Michael W. Tirrell in an Oct. 1, 2017 letter to DNREC. “Mountaire is acting diligently to implement interim corrective measures, as well as to develop long term system improvements that we anticipate will bring our effluent levels in line with what was anticipated when the application was filed.”

Mountaire applied to DNREC for a Coastal Zone permit on May 22, 2017 to construct and operate a third production line in a 5,300 square-foot expansion to the existing picking room at their facility on John J. Williams Highway.

A public hearing on the permit application was held on August 31, 2017. The hearing drew mostly opposition to the proposed expansion.

Mr. Tirrell, in an interview earlier this summer, said expansion of Rt. 24 facility is projected to create an additional 140 jobs and increase processing production to approximately 35 chickens per minute – or about 2 million chickens per week.

Any expansion in the Coastal Zone Act requires a permit. In Mountaire’s case, John J. Williams Highway (Rt. 24) is the dividing line. One side is Coastal Zone; the other is not. The processing plant is in the Coastal Zone.

Projected cost of the expansion, including new equipment is estimated at $14 million, Mr. Tirrell said.

Proposed expansion will result in an increase in discharge flow from the processing plant from 2.3 million gallons per day to 2.4 million. Mountaire intends to modify its onsite wastewater treatment plant to accommodate the expansion.

“Mountaire fully intends to re-file the application and to pursue the expansion of the processing plant once we are satisfied with all system upgrades and the likelihood that acceptable effluent levels in the spray fields, even at anticipated production levels, can be achieved following an expansion,” Mr. Tirrell stated in the letter.

News Editor Glenn Rolfe can be reached at grolfe@newszap.com

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