Federal prosecutors say the owners of the horse racing track in New Orleans have agreed to pay a $2.8 million penalty for letting horse manure and urine into the city’s drainage system
The U.S. Justice Department described the fine to be paid by Churchill Downs Inc., owner of the Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, as the largest ever paid by a “concentrated animal feeding” operation under the Clean Water Act, news outlets reported.
The agreement settles a federal complaint alleging that the Fair Grounds violated that law and the track’s state permit more than 250 times between 2012 and 2018.
“This consent decree will stop the flow of untreated process wastewater into the local sewer system, which leads to local waters used for fishing and ultimately Lake Pontchartrain, in a way that recognizes the challenges presented by the racetrack’s urban location.” said Jonathan Brightbill, principal deputy assistant attorney general in the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division, said Tuesday in a news release.
Churchill Downs, based in Louisville, Kentucky, said it has worked with federal, state and local environmental agencies to find ways to deal with wastewater and stormwater at the New Orleans track. It “has agreed to meaningful measures, including $5.6 million of capital improvements over the next three years, to address the conditions and obligations under the consent decree,” the company told The Times-Picayune / The New Orleans Advocate.
Neighborhoods the government considers environmental justice communities surround the