Yuengling To Pay Nearly $10M To Settle Pollution Allegations

Image courtesy of Steven Knapp

Facing federal allegations of violating the Clean Water Act, D.G. Yeungling and Son, the country’s oldest brewing company, has agreed to pay nearly $3 million in penalties and invest $7 million for improvements to its two breweries in Pennsylvania.

The Department of Justice and Environmental Protection Agency announced the agreement Thursday, effectively settling charges that Yuengling illegally discharged pollutants into the Greater Pottsville Area Sewer Authority municipal wastewater treatment plant.

According to the EPA, from 2008 to 2015 Yuengling violated the Clean Water Act requirement for companies that discharge industrial waste to municipal publicly owned wastewater treatment facilities.

Under the Act, companies like Yuengling must obtain and comply with permit limits on discharges of industrial waste that goes to public treatment facilities, which in many cases require “pretreatment” of waste before it is discharged.

The EPA and DOJ accused Yuengling of violating these standards at least 141 times in the eight year period.

“Yuengling is responsible for serious violations of its Clean Water Act pretreatment discharge limits, posing a potential risk to the Schuylkill River which provides drinking water to 1.5 million people,” EPA Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin said in a statement. “This history of violations and failure to fully respond to orders from the Greater Pottsville Area Sewer Authority and EPA to correct the problems resulted in this enforcement action.”

Under the settlement agreement, Yuengling will spend approximately $7 million to improve environmental measures by, among other things, conducting audits and inspections, creating a comprehensive pretreatment system, improve operation and maintenance of pretreatment systems, and hiring two certified wastewater treatment operators.

Additionally, the company will pay $2.8 million in penalties.