Oregon hikes Port of Morrow water pollution fine to $2.1M

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality has increased the Port of Morrow’s groundwater contamination fine to $2.1 million following additional wastewater violations. Oregon Public Broadcasting reports the agency added $800,000 to the Port’s original $1.3 million fine Friday for over-applying nitrogen-rich wastewater on agricultural fields in the Lower Umatilla Basin. The area is burdened with groundwater pollution and is the primary drinking water source for Morrow and Umatilla counties. A DEQ spokesperson says the agency knew about additional violations but needed further documentation. The Port’s executive director says the company recognizes groundwater contamination has been a serious problem but says it’s also a community problem that will require a community solution.