Penn Maid plant responsible for Byberry Creek spill

HP Hood, which operates a plant on Dutton Road, was responsible for ammonia spill that killed wildlife, DEP says.

State environmental officials have named HP Hood LLC, which operates the Penn Maid plant on Dutton Road, as the party responsible for an ammonia spill in Byberry Creek which killed fish and other wildlife earlier this month.

In a statement, the Massachusetts-based dairy company said it discovered a breach in its stormwater system after being contacted by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and the Philadelphia Water Department.

HP Hood said the issue has been corrected and that the company is cooperating with the DEP and Water Department to monitor the situation at the plant, located at 10975 Dutton Road.

“Hood takes matters of the environment, health and safety of our employees and the community very seriously,” the company’s statement said. “Hood will provide a written report on the investigation findings and corrective action to the state once the matter is resolved.”

DEP spokeswoman Virginia Cain confirmed that HP Hood on April 4 blocked off the line that was dumping the ammonia-tainted wastewater into the creek.

It’s unclear whether HP Hood will face any penalties. Cain said the agency does not comment on potential or pending enforcement actions.

Residents who spotted dead fish where Byberry Creek meets Walton Run reported the incident to state agencies March 31, and the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission and DEP responded to the area the next day.

They found a significant number of dead fish, reptiles and amphibians, and discovered that a large amount of contaminated wastewater was flooding into the creek. The spill affected wildlife downstream to Poquessing Creek, according to the PFBC.

None of the creeks affected serve as sources of drinking water, the DEP said.

HP Hood said Walton Run lies about 100 yards from the Penn Maid property line. The company acquired the plant, which produces sour cream and cottage cheese, in 2004. ••

Jack Tomczuk can be reached at jtomczuk@newspapermediagroup.com