Major Egg Producer in the United States Agrees to Lessen Water Discharges

June 22, 2015

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. discharge / ˈdɪs tʃɑrdʒ / (n.) – liquid or gas that is released or disposed
Example: The farm’s waste discharge is harmful to the creek.

2. settlement / ˈsɛt l mənt / (n.) – an agreement done to resolve an issue
Example: Both parties are trying to reach a settlement about the issue.

3. comply / kəmˈplaɪ / (v.) – to do what is being asked
Example: The facility will comply with the state’s sanitation code.

4. livestock / ˈlaɪvˌstɒk / (n.) – farm animals that are cared for and bred for business purposes
Example: Our farm sells livestock.

5. laden / ˈleɪd n / (adj.) – rich in or loaded with something
Example: The trees in our farm are laden with fruits.


Read the text below.
Cal-Maine Foods Inc., a major egg producer in the United States, has agreed to reduce its water pollution discharge in response to its Clean Water Act violations.

This agreement, which particularly involves Cal-Maine’s facility in Edwards, Mississippi, is part of a settlement with the US Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The settlement means that Cal-Maine needs to comply with Mississippi’s water discharge permit, which dictates that wastes released in water must be greatly lessened.

One of Cal-Maine’s violations is discharging poultry wastes into a nearby creek without authorization from the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES). The company is also guilty of excessively disposing nitrogen-rich wastewater on fields during winter, which authorities do not allow. Cal-Maine also failed to do storm water sampling and submit a required annual report.

As a penalty, the company will have to pay $475,000, half of which will go to the United States Treasury and half to the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality.

According to the Grace Communications Foundation, the storage and disposal of animal wastes from industrial livestock farms cause water pollution. These farms store animal wastes in huge tanks that usually leak during days with heavy rain. When these tanks leak, they release antibiotic residues and harmful bacteria that can contaminate water supplies.

The EPA also said that water pollution from livestock wastes may harm the aquatic ecosystems. This is because animal manure is rich in ammonia, a substance that can kill fish. Wastes laden with nitrogen and phosphorus also cause algae proliferation. The more algae present, the lesser oxygen there is for the aquatic animals.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you think Cal-Maine’s penalty is enough, considering the damages that it has caused? Why?
·         Are authorities in your country as strict as the EPA when it comes to monitoring wastewater management? Please explain your answer.

Discussion B

·         What do you think are the other causes of water pollution?
·         How can water pollution be prevented?

June 22, 2015