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Meatpacking Company Accused Of Dumping Blood Into Trinity Closing Slaughterhouse

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Updated with city statement at 3:55 p.m.

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - The Dallas meatpacking company accused of dumping pig blood into the Trinity River is closing part of its operations.

In January, the City of Dallas alerted the Columbia Packing Company of several alleged code violations.  The city claimed the violations could endanger public health.

Dallas effectively shut down the plant, threatening to cut its water and sewer service if it resumed operations without fixing the violations.

The company has consistently denied the city’s accusation that it deliberately dumped blood and other waste material into the river.

Now the Oak Cliff company says it will voluntarily close its slaughterhouse.  But it will continue to operate its meatpacking business.

In a letter Columbia sent to its customers Monday, company president Joe Ondrusek said, “Even though we have been operating legally and we have done nothing wrong, we recognize a long zoning fight to continue the slaughter operation could mean months or years before we could get back to serving our customers.”

It’s not yet clear if or when the city will allow the packing operations to resume.

In addition to the letter, the company posted a series of videotaped interviews to YouTube:

We expect to hear from the city later today.

3:55 p.m. Update: City of Dallas Public Information Officer Frank Librio just emailed the following statement to the media:

“The City will use all legal means possible to ensure that Columbia Packing, or any company in the City, is not allowed to continue to discharge illicit waste and potentially harm the public and the environment.

Columbia Packing officials, on video, focus on a hidden pipe on their property that they claim was clogged with brick and other material.  What company officials do not address is another hidden, illegal pipe discovered that was installed to bypass the City’s monitoring device in the sanitary sewer line.  The illegal installation of that bypass allowed the discharge of pig blood and other unsanitary waste materials without City oversight.  Columbia Packing has failed to document when and how this illegal bypass was installed.  The bypass pipe appeared to be of recent vintage.

The search warrant and associated affidavit speak for themselves and clearly outline daily investigatory activities on the part of the City and other investigators from the day the situation was brought to the City’s attention.”

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