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Carroll Poultry allowed to keep permit for now

By Erin Smith

The Bladenboro Town Board adopted a memorandum of understanding with Carroll Poultry, LLC on Monday night that will allow the company to continue to operate. The board voted unanimously to approve the memorandum.

The board held an administrative hearing in December where they heard from Attorney Matthew Dixon, who is representing the owners of Carroll Poultry, LLC, and engineer Sam Nobles who is working with Carroll Poultry LLC to devise a plan that will assist in reducing the wastewater discharge. During that meeting, Mr. Nobles presented plans and drawings to construct a 450,000 gallon tank to hold wastewater to allow the company to stay within the permit limits with the town.

Hera Kahn, the manager of Carroll Poultry, LLC, and CEO Gulzar Kahn, were joined by Dixon in the audience on Monday night. No one elected to speak on behalf of the company during the meeting and company officials promptly left following the meeting.

The Memorandum of Understanding between the town and Carroll Poultry LLC allows Carroll Poultry LLC to proceed with plans to construct the tank. The plan also calls for limiting the number of days per week the plant kills chickens to two days and the remaining days will consist of processing activities.  The plan also calls for the Carroll Poultry LLC to have paid all fines in full before restarting their operation with the exception of the fines that are financed and the company must be current on all payments on any fines that are financed. The company had been fined three times by the town before they ceased operating and has only made payments on one of the three fines.

The plan also calls for Carroll Poultry to notify Town Administrator Blake Proctor a minimum of 10 days before restarting operations so he may perform any testing that is needed prior to Carroll Poultry discharging any wastewater.

The Memorandum of Understanding states the wastewater discharge permit of Carroll Poultry LLC will not be revoked as long as all of the terms of the agreement are completed or “are in the process of being completed and Carroll Poultry LLC is in compliance on all aspects of the permit prior to restarting their operations.

Bladen County Economic Development Director Chuck Heustess called the Memorandum of Understanding a positive development.

“Carroll Poultry is working really hard to get the facility back in operation and get the infrastructure in place to operate and the town has bent over backwards to help,” said Heustess.  “I’m happy to see the two sides working together.”

The company employs 70 people and has been idle for three months as they try to find a solution for the wastewater discharge issues. Carroll Poultry operates a Muslim Orthodox Halal poultry processing plant. The Halal method of killing the poultry and preparing it for processing has to meet the standards of the Halal tradition by offering a blessing over the birds after they are killed. The company must also pass the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspections.

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