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Ocean Spray

Ocean Spray

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Published by Ari Chatterjee

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Published by: Ari Chatterjee on Apr 09, 2012
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07/31/2013

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1 EEP 405

Case Study II: Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc.
On January 28, 1988 Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc. was accused of six felonies (for intentional dumping of untreated wastewater into the town’s sewage system) and seventy-two misdemeanors (for the plant’s discharge into the Nemasket River and its adjacent wetlands) violating the nation’s Clean Air Act. The reason being that the corporation had illegally been discharging untreated wastewater and other pollutants from its Middleboro (Massachusetts) plant into the Nemasket River. The small rural town of Middleboro is proud to be an industrial base for many corporations but is specifically appreciative for the presence of the largest manufacturer of Cranberry Juice in the United States creating jobs and economic growth for the region. The process of manufacturing their products required extensive cleaning and therefore the town sewer is one of the most important necessities for the company, unloading approximately two hundred thousand gallons of wastewater a day. In 1967 they extended their plant and were offered a wastewater pump station, four miles away from the water treatment plant. Because of the high acidic discharge the state required Ocean Spray to upgrade its gravity-feed trickling filter plant since the overflow of the sewage to the river polluted the wildlife and fish habitat. The ICR (industrial Coast Recovery) legislation mandated companies for additional payment to the municipalities to support their capacity, but by the use of heavy lobbying this cost was averted. They were suggested to add sodium hydroxide to their wastewater to restore the pH level (as detected by the Department of Environmental Quality and Engineering - DEQE) at one point and Nitrogen the other. The company questioned its culpability and concluded that the other possible reasons for the pH imbalance including poor maintenance of the treatment faculty, mechanical breakdown, improper plant design and lack of knowledge by the town’s employees and suggested that it should be billed to the town’s tax payers. In 1987, the DEQE announced that the Nemasket River was at risk and the EPA was notified. And Ocean Spray was ordered to construct a pre-treatment plant facility for the wastewater before its discharge in the sewer. This was appealed by Ocean Spray. In October 8th, 1987 thousands of gallons of discharge was released into the storm drain which was caused by a faulty pipe at the processing plant. This allegation was however denied by the company accounting to the fact that the discharge had been contained. The main problem was that the discharge contained large particles of fruit remains and other acidic material which overwhelmed the town’s sewage system. On February 24, 1988 Ocean spray pleaded innocent to all the 78 charges and by investing over a million dollars in Middleboro by hiring experts and creating more safety nets the company

2 EEP 405 pleaded guilty to twenty one of its misdemeanors and was fined $400. The willingness to reinstitute the town helped shorten a lengthy trial and brought upon a fair hearing.1 million and agreed to buy the town necessary equipments totaling to $225. .000 that would improve sludge handling by the municipal plant.000 instead of the original $2.

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