The Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Control (DNREC) announced on Wednesday, Feb. 13, that it had been notified that day about an accidental release of partially treated wastewater at Mountaire Farms of Delaware's poultry processing facility in Millsboro.

According to DNREC, Mountaire Farms reported that the release was discovered around 5 a.m. and resulted in the discharge of between 750,000 and 1 million gallons of partially treated wastewater to the ground surface at the Millsboro facility.

The release, reported by Mountaire as having been caused by mechanical failure of a wastewater system component, was contained onsite, officials said, with no discharge to nearby Swann Creek.

“DNREC has directed Mountaire Farms to take all appropriate steps to mitigate this release and minimize any adverse impacts to the environment. Mountaire's cleanup efforts are under way. DNREC will continue to investigate this incident while monitoring the company's cleanup,” officials said.

Mountaire representatives issued a statement Wednesday night, saying, “Our Millsboro wastewater treatment facility experienced a mechanical failure early this morning causing treated wastewater to be released onto our property.

“Importantly, no water left our facility or reached Swan Creek. Cleanup began as soon as our alarm system notified our team of the malfunction,” they noted. “The portion of our wastewater system that caused the release just went into operation in late January, and is designed to reduce nutrient levels in the wastewater that is sprayed on the land where the release occurred.

“There is absolutely no risk to our employees, to the public, or to the environment as a result of this release,” they emphasized. “Cleanup should be completed by this evening and the recycling operation will resume tomorrow.”