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Illinois slaughterhouse biggest nitrogen polluter of waterways in U.S., study finds

In an assessment of water pollution produced by 98 large meat-processing facilities across the United States, the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit Environmental Integrity Project found that a plant in Beardstown, Ill., owned by meat-processing giant JBS released about 1,850 pounds of nitrogen on average each day into a tributary of the Illinois River. That’s the amount contained in raw sewage produced daily by a city with the population roughly the size of Evanston, the report says.

The facility, about 240 miles southwest of Chicago, is within its permitted discharge limits under the Clean Water Act, but the disclosure raises questions about the stringency of federal water pollution standards surrounding meatpacking plants.

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