The following press release was sent to media in the state on Wednesday, March 6. During a followup phone call to DEQ, environmental law specialist Bryan Smith said, to the Oregon Cherry Growers’ credit, they had notified the DEQ about the situation.
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality has issued a $2,100 penalty to the Oregon Cherry Growers cooperative food processing plant for failing to follow its wastewater permit requirements.
The plant, located at 1035 Bargeway Road in The Dalles, operates under a DEQ-issued wastewater discharge permit. That permit allows the plant to discharge wastewater to the Columbia River, within certain limits and guidelines. The plant exceeded discharge limits for pollutants on five different days between November 26 and December 5 of 2012.
Monitoring wastewater discharge levels from food processing plants is important to the overall health of the Columbia River. Discharges that exceed permit levels can decrease water quality, affect oxygen levels and diminish the ability of fish to see and catch food.
Oregon Cherry Growers has until March 20 to appeal the penalty.