Attorney General Corbett announces charges against Berks County kosher poultry plant, former plant owner and plant operator
December 19, 2008
HARRISBURG - The owner of a former Berks County kosher poultry plant and the pretreatment plant operator were charged today by agents from the Attorney General's Environmental Crimes Section with discharging industrial waste including poultry blood, feathers, hearts and gizzards into a Schuylkill River tributary.
Attorney General Tom Corbett identified the defendants as Mayer Grunbaum, 48, of Brooklyn, NY, his former business, G&G Poultry, 1100 Lincoln Road, Birdsboro, and the businesses' pretreatment plant operator, David Weiszer, 59, of Allentown.
Corbett said that the investigation began in December 2007 based on a referral from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) regarding the illegal discharge of poultry waste into nearby waters.
According to the criminal complaint, industrial waste from G&G's wastewater pre-treatment plant is required to be discharged into the sanitary sewer collection system owned and operated by Exeter Township.
The charges state that on 16 separate occasions between May 2006 and January 2008, Grunbaum or Weiszer permitted industrial waste generated from G&G's processing operations to be discharged into an unnamed tributary of the Schuylkill River.
Corbett said that the water was allegedly laden with poultry parts including; fat, grease, feathers, hearts, gizzards, feet, poultry blood and viscera.
"Our environmental laws were created to protect and preserve Pennsylvania's tremendous natural resources for all to enjoy," Corbett said. "No matter how small the stream, these waterways and tributaries are not dumping grounds for waste."
According to an Aquatic Biology Investigation, there was a harmful impact to the Schuylkill tributary from G&G's untreated process water discharge.
"Over the course of two years the pollution of one small unnamed tributary ultimately affected species and vegetation that grow and live in the Schuylkill River," Corbett said.
Grunbaum, Weiszer and G&G Poultry are all charged with 16 counts of industrial waste discharges, 16 counts of prohibition against other pollutions and 16 counts of unlawful conduct. Grunbaum and Weiszer are also charged with three counts of criminal conspiracy.
Corbett said that Grunbaum and Weiszer face a maximum penalty of 255 years in prison and $527,000 fine.
The case will be prosecuted in Berks County by Deputy Attorney General Stevan Portman of the Attorney General's Environmental Crimes Section.
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(A person charged with a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty.)
Mayer Grunbaum lives in Williamsburg, not far from Satmar world headquarters.
Mayer Grunbaum, top.
David Weiszer, below.