OKLAHOMA CITY - An Arkansas-based company is accused of illegally dumping pollutants into water around its southwest Oklahoma City poultry plant.
OK Foods, located on 7300 S.W. 29 Street, faces a criminal misdemeanor charge of unpermitted discharge in connection with a spill earlier this year at the factory.
According to an affidavit obtained by News 4, OK Foods had an accidental spill on March 20, 2017 that resulted in the discharge of wash water, animal fat and dye to the ground near their property. Enviroclear, a contractor, was hired to clean up the spill.
The court document, filed by investigator Michael Freeman of the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality, further claims there was another release of wash water, flour, cooking oil and dye at the same location on May 25, 2017. This was reportedly caused by a pump failure that allowed the materials to back up and overflow onto the ground.
"The release tracked southwest into a pit along O.K. Foods' property line. Then when that pit filled up, it entered a culvert which proceeded from the top of the pit west off the property and into a drainage ditch, thus discharging much of the wastewater into this ditch that flows north into a creek," the affidavit reads.
The discharge of wastewater to the creek around May 25 has been blamed on negligence by OK Foods, according to the affidavit. It reads, in part, "It is obvious that any wastewater spills would be directed toward the culvert leading off the property and into the ditch and creek."
Johnson Bridgwater is director of the Sierra Club's Oklahoma chapter, a nationally recognized environmental advocacy group. He said this is a problem the state has seen in the past.
"Unfortunately, it’s not just a one-area or one-place or one-type of dumping. Illegal dumping that impacts water happens across the state," Bridgwater said. "We have a huge concern that not only is this a critical issue, the state doesn’t have the resources to get ahead of these problems when we’re in this situation."
The charge carries a maximum penalty of $25,000 per day of violation and one year in jail.
News 4 reached out to OK Foods' corporate office for a comment multiple times on Monday. We have not heard back yet.