Meat processor to clean water as it leaves plant

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published November 17, 2021

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ST. CLAIR SHORES — The new owner of a meat processing plant at 20643 Stephens Street, formerly Butcher Boy and now Alexander & Hornung, is looking to rectify pollution the plant has been discharging with its wastewater.

Alexander & Hornung was acquired by Perdue Premium Meat Company in March 2020.  When Perdue took over the site, however, the corporation realized that the facility was discharging too many pollutants in its wastewater. Although the facility had not received a violation from the Great Lakes Water Authority, a representative told the St. Clair Shores Planning Commission that quarterly water tests have shown levels of pollutants that exceed what is allowed, and the company had been fined at those times.

Since Perdue acquired the facility, it has spent $1.5 million on upgrades to the building’s interior, and now the company was requesting to put an addition on the building to house a wastewater treatment facility, a new requirement from GLWA.

According to documents filed with the city, the company has been discharging fats and other renderings into the city’s wastewater system for years, and the wastewater treatment system will help with long-term maintenance of the city’s sewer system, as well as the ultimate health of Lake St. Clair.

LeRoy Stevens, of Stevens Architects, came before City Council Oct. 18 to request the addition, explaining that Perdue was looking to expand the line being produced at the St. Clair Shores facility, which prompted the request.

“I think they’ve been paying some sort of penalty for many years,” he said. “Perdue just purchased this. When they found out about it, that’s when they contacted us.”

Councilwoman Candice Rusie said she thought it was “ridiculous” that the company had been able to “pay your way out” in the past.

“I’m glad it’s being getting corrected now versus just paying the money and polluting the system,” she said.

“I think Perdue is being a good corporate citizen there,” agreed Mayor Kip Walby. “They don’t want this type (of pollutant) going out there. Environmentally, they’re doing the right thing.”

All wastewater from the plant will now move through the treatment system before entering the GLWA system, Stevens said.

Councilman John Caron suggested that the city go and inspect the sanitary sewer line where the business connects to it once the treatment plant is installed to make sure there aren’t any excess oils and fats built up that need to be cleaned from the pipe.

City Council voted 6-0 to approve the site plan for the treatment plant. Stevens said by the time the equipment is ordered and delivered, they should be able to have the facility up and running by spring.

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