Cavel only business not up to district standards

Published: Sunday, Feb. 25, 2007 12:00 a.m. CDT

The Cavel-owned slaughterhouse is the only business regulated by the DeKalb Sanitary District to have been fined in the past ten years. Cavel has incurred $31,500 worth of fines since 2004. Penalties have been given for exceeding limits on the content of animal products in wastewater, which drain into the Kishwaukee River. While the contents of the water in question are similar to waste products made by people in a household, the amount of product in the water has been the cause of 17 district violations at the Cavel plant since September. &#8220It took a while to pinpoint the problems with water treatment,” said Jim Tucker, manager of the Cavel plant. &#8220We found in mid-2005 that we would need a new system, and between designs, testing and finally the actual building of a new pre-treating system, it took many people's input and a lot of time to build it and then run it effectively.” According to Tucker, some consultants hired to help solve the wastewater problem suggested paying the city more money to treat it themselves, a practice of meatpacking plants in larger cities. The DeKalb Sanitary District, however, requires all businesses with water permits to pre-treat their wastewater before it comes to their facility to be filtered again before it goes into the river. The plant has been given until May 31 to be operating within discharge limits established by the sanitary district without further sanctions. Representatives of Cavel assured the district that a rebuilt water treatment system will be working by the end of March. The new $550,000 pre-treater has run successfully for the last two weeks, Tucker said. &#8220If by the end of May they are still not within our standards, we will consider revoking their permit,” said sanitary district president Michael Zima. &#8220Within our guidelines, we can only shut them down if they violate our wastewater standards.” According to Zima, if the treatment system isn't working by the end of March, the district will consider enacting fines during the time period they agreed to not fine Cavel. &#8220We are giving them until the end of May for full compliance with the water content because a new system usually has bugs and kinks to work out,” said sanitary district board of trustees president Dennis Collins. Benji Feldheim can be reached at

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