Raspberry farmer agrees to pay $80K for illegal watering

BELLINGHAM, Wash. (AP) — A Washington state farmer accused of illegally watering his raspberries and failing to submit records on water use has agreed to pay a reduced fine of $80,000.

The Bellingham Herald reports that Gurjant Sandhu appealed to the state Pollution Control Hearings Board before reaching a settlement with the Department of Ecology. His original fine was $102,000.

The department states Sandhu illegally irrigated a 220-acre (89-hectare) raspberry farm for at least two years. His water rights at the time only allowed him to irrigate 35 acres (14 hectares).

The department states he also was fined for not submitting accurate water metering records for a 120-acre (48.6-hectare) blueberry farm, a requirement that was part of a settlement for previous illegal water use.