America’s “Oldest Brewery” has been found responsible for one of America’s oldest problems — environmental pollution. On June 23, 2016, D.G. Yuengling and Sons, Inc. entered into a consent decree with the United States to settle water pollution violations involving its two large-scale breweries near Pottsville, PA. Under the consent decree, Yuengling agreed to pay a $2.8 million civil penalty and to spend approximately $7 million to improve environmental measures at its breweries. The violations were related to discharges from the breweries into the Greater Pottsville Area Sewer Authority municipal wastewater treatment plant from 2008 to 2015.
Companies that discharge industrial waste to municipal publicly-owned wastewater treatment facilities must obtain and comply with “pre-treatment” permit limits. The United States alleged that Yuengling violated these pre-treatment requirements for a number of parameters, including biological oxygen demand, phosphorus, zinc, and pH. As part of the settlement, Yuengling is required to implement an environmental management system at its breweries to ensure compliance with all environmental requirements and have third-party environmental audits of its facilities.
The consent decree puts a dent in the environmental image that Yuengling sought to cultivate. On its website, Yuengling states that “not only do we adhere to the belief that good water makes good beer, as a part of our long term commitment to the communities we operate in, Yuengling makes it a priority to protect the environment for generations to come. As America’s Oldest Brewery, we strive to reduce our carbon footprint, recycling and reusing materials whenever possible as well as conserving water and energy.”
Our Environmental Group is available to consult with both industry and municipalities to review pre-treatment requirements and measures to ensure complete compliance with environmental requirements.