DALLAS Do you remember the Columbia Packing Company?

That's the South Dallas meat processing firm that had to shut down in January, 2012 after someone discovered pigs' blood believed to be from the facility being dumped into the Trinity River.

Aerial photos showed a trail of red leading from the plant to the river.

Twenty months later, the meat packing company wants to get back to business. It received the necessary permission from the city in June; now, it's seeking a permit from the state.

Residents who live near the plant at 2807 East 11th Street will have a chance to tell Texas environmental regulators what they think about that possibility.

Columbia has asked the state for permission to operate a smokehouse on the property. Currently, the company has the necessary permission to process and package meat.

The City of Dallas banned the company from slaughtering pigs after accusing Columbia of dumping animal blood into the Trinity River and polluting the environment. Columbia's certificate of occupancy was revoked.

After many inspections and negotiations, the city agreed to let the company process meat at the plant, but not to slaughter pigs.

State Sen. Royce West said he's concerned about Columbia's history and wants to make sure everything is done by the book.

"I'm not trying to close a business down, especially when you have individuals in the community working there," West said. "But when an organization just like an individual engages in behavior that's against the law, then we need to make certain that if we're going to rehabilitate that individual or business, in this particular case, that it's done properly."

The community will have a chance to tell regulators from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality what they think, but a date for that hearing has not yet been announced.

The company has hired a consulting firm to make sure that from this point forward everything is done correctly from an environmental standpoint, and they area abiding by all regulations.

Columbia's owners have been indicted by a grand jury for pollution and evidence-tampering. They are scheduled to go on trial in February.


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