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DALLAS - The criminal investigation regarding possible environmental violations continues today regarding the family-owned meatpacking plant Columbia Packing.

Federal investigators think they're responsible for blood and toxic chemicals seeping into the Trinity River.

Dallas City Council member Dwaine Caraway and other city leaders visited the East Oak Cliff property Friday to see the lay out themselves. Caraway said he wants to know how the meatpacking plant gets rid of its waste. He's also very concerned about the potential for harm to the local water supply.

The Environmental Protections Agency and the Dallas County Constables raided the Columbia Packing Company Thursday. While there have been no charges filed yet, the company could face charges ranging from a misdemeanor to a felony for the alleged environmental violations.

Just yards behind Columbia's slaughter house is Cedar Creek, which leads right into the Trinity River at the site of the city's new whitewater kayaking area.

Criminal investigators confirmed that pig blood and other toxic chemicals were found in a sewer pipe leading from the plant to Cedar Creek.

The raid was a result of a tip that came from a man taking aerial photographs of a nearby trail when he spotted something he described as red and flowing down Cedar Creek and into the Trinity River.

Columbia has been in business for 99 years and has been in operation at its Oak Cliff location for at least the last 50 years. They pack and ship ham, bacon and brisket.

Across the street, neighbor and business owner Lee Williams told News 8 it's about time someone investigates the plant. He said he never sees any trucks coming and going that would be evidence of them getting rid of animal waste.

A lawyer for the business would only confirm that investigators were at the scene Thursday, but gave no further comment. The company did have a sewer and drain cleaning company on the property today working at the site.

E-mail cvega@wfaa.com

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