BRAWLEY, Calif. - At a packed out, overflowing Brawley council meeting on Tuesday, One World Beef officials asked permission to dump their waste water into the city’s system on a temporary basis while they finish building their own filtering systems.
One World Beef official Armand Nicholi said, “Until we get a brand new biofiltration system up and running to handle our wastewater going forward.”
But they need more time.
“Five months, give or take. And then it would take another month and a half to get them fully operational,” Nicholi said.
The beef plant official said they’re already generating nearly 200 jobs and possibly hundreds more to come.
“The annual economic benefit to the whole Imperial Valley will be about a hundred eighty-four million dollars annually,” Nicholi said.
A Brawley resident said the plant represents progress and growth to the city.
“If they’ve been in compliance with the water board that they said they have and they’ve documented it, the city keeps throwing barrier after barrier,” Gil Rebollar said.
Imperial County officials would like Brawley to help the beef plant meet all requirements.
“I don’t want to put the city of Brawley in any risk or jeopardy, but as I understand the situation, they can help a business to continue to operate, and we can have a thriving business continue in Brawley,” District 4 Supervisor Ryan Kelley said.
Environmental group Comite Civico del Valle Director Jose Luis Olmedo said that to dump without proper filtering system is dangerous to the community's public health.
“These industries are allowed to discharge above the regulated levels it puts our whole ecosystem at risk, it puts our health at risk,” Olmedo said.
In the end, city officials agreed to a temporary dumping permit if the beef plant would submit a set of required documents.
“Respond back with what we anticipate will be issuance within a week, possibly less, but guessing a week at worst,” City Manager Rosanna Bayon Moore said.