|Polk County Enterprise - Local News
Copyright 2013 - Polk County Publishing Company
Lake, lower Trinity River not impacted by leaks from Dallas packing company
BY VALERIE REDDELL
DALLAS — Aerial photos taken by a hobbyist a year ago have resulted in 18 indictments against a Dallas packing plant and its owners who were discharging pig blood and other illegal materials into a creek that fed into the Trinity River, although officials with TRA said that illegal discharge has had no environmental impact on the lower reaches of the river or Lake Livingston. The photographer turned the videos showing the mysterious red substance over to Dallas County Health and Human Services Investigator John Spencer. When he visited the plant her heard swine cries that he believed originated at the 99-year-old business — then he heard a gush a water which turned blood red. Texas Parks and Wildlife, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the Environmental Protection Agency soon joined the investigation. The Ondrusek family said the discharge was accidental. They have operated the plant since it was built in 1913 and explained the discharge was the result of a stopped up pipe. They claimed they first learned of the problem 41 days after the city, and would have immediately fixed the problem if it was called to their attention sooner. The city told WFAA reporters they kept quiete because of the continuing federal investigation. In February, investigators searched the property and found a second hidden pipe on the property. Columbia’s attorney denies the pipe is hidden. He says the pipe is “abandoned, compacted at several points with dirt and brick.” The company was ordered not to excavate the pipe without supervision, but they did anyway. Dallas City Councilman Dwaine Carway launched efforts to shut the plant permanently. The plant was cited in January for 18 violations which caused an unusual taste or odor-producing substances in the water. Columbia agreed to stop slaughtering pigs at the facility in March. In April, the Dallas Board of Adjustment ordered the business to shut down.