Oct 11, 2007

Dannon Plant Fined $71,350 for Water-Quality Violations

Dannon Co. is paying a $71,350 fine to settle violations of water-quality laws at its yogurt plant in this Auglaize County village, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency said Tuesday.

The company also agreed to submit a spill-response plan, install an automated control system on its wastewater treatment plant and improve operating records as part of a settlement agreement reached last week with the agency.

Ohio EPA spokeswoman Dina Pierce confirmed that Dannon this month began operating a new sewage treatment plant to minimize the plant's environmental impact.

"We are deeply committed to being a good neighbor, and we take our environmental responsibility very seriously," said Didier Menu, senior plant director, in a prepared release.

Ten spills or other illegal discharges have been documented from the plant at 26 Southgate Drive since March 2004. They include:

&#149 A February 2005 spill of up to 15,000 gallons of water and milk waste into the storm sewer and the Miami and Erie Canal.

&#149 A September 2005 discharge that caused Minster's sewage treatment plant to malfunction and killed more than 33,000 fish in the canal.

&#149 A January 2007 discharge of several hundred thousand gallons of insufficiently pre-treated wastewater to Minster's sewage treatment plant, disrupting the plant and causing it to exceed discharge limits.

An April 2007 inspection found the company failed to implement and maintain storm water controls around a stockpile of soil to prevent sediment runoff from a construction site.