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Charges Brought In Dallas Pig Blood Spill

BJ Austin, KERA

A Dallas County Grand Jury has returned 18 indictments related to pig blood spilled into a creek from the Columbia Packing Company in Oak Cliff a year ago.

The indictments include unauthorized discharge of a waste pollutant, and tampering with physical evidence.

Aerial photography showed nearby Cedar Creek flowing red toward the Trinity River.  Investigators determined it was pig blood from the slaughterhouse operation at the plant.

Owners of the plant blamed a clogged pipe, and said they did not know it was malfunctioning until city inspectors notified them.  Company officials said they quickly corrected the situation.  But the city moved to shut down the slaughterhouse operation of the plant.

The polluting charge carries a hefty fine upon conviction; up to $250,000.

Tampering with evidence is a felony that carries up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

Former KERA reporter BJ Austin spent more than 25 years in broadcast journalism, anchoring and reporting in Atlanta, New York, New Orleans and Dallas. Along the way, she covered Atlanta City Hall, the Georgia Legislature and the corruption trials of Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards.