May 17, 2007

Idaho Produce Company Settles Wastewater Case

Magic Valley Produce, Inc,, in Paul, Idaho, has reached a $60,000 settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for violating its federal wastewater discharge permit.

During an EPA inspection of the plant on January 19, 2006, the inspector noted that the facility had failed to conduct required discharge sampling under its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. From November 2003 to January 2006, the Company accrued a very large number of “failure to sample” violations for the various pollutants in its discharge, which runs into the Snake River.

The pollutants that the company failed to sample for include: total suspended solids (TSS), pH, phosphorus, biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), ammonia, nitrate-nitrite and E-coli. The company had also violated its TSS limits. The company recently stopped discharging to surface waters.

According to Jim Werntz, EPA’s Idaho State Director, companies need to be diligent in conducting sampling to ensure that they are properly controlling their discharges. Without this information, EPA has no way of verifying that the permit limits are being met and that pollution is properly managed.

"It is important for all companies to comply with their permits,” said Werntz. “If they don’t, they face potential fines for the noncompliance.”

The NPDES permit program, a key part of the federal Clean Water Act, controls water pollution by regulating sources that discharge pollutants to waters in the United States.