News Release

For release: Feb. 6, 2013

Courtney Brown, Environmental Law Specialist, Portland, 503-229-6839
Robert Dicksa, Senior Permitting and Compliance Specialist, Salem, 503-378-5039

DEQ Issues $9,600 Penalty to Norpac Foods for Wastewater Violations

            The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality has issued a $9,600 penalty to Norpac Foods, Inc. for violations of its wastewater discharge permit issued for wastewater generated by the company’s food processing plant located at 930 W. Washington St. in Stayton, Ore.


            Food processing creates wastewater. Norpac Foods has a permit from DEQ to manage this wastewater by applying the waste to agricultural fields near the plant. The fields soak up the wastewater allowing the byproducts of Norpac Food’s operations to break down safely creating fertile soil. The company is responsible for “land applying” their wastewater in accordance with Oregon state law and at rates that are designed to prevent risks to the public and the environment. That means workers must follow sound practices and not allow the wastewater to pool or pond. Surface runoff must also be prevented.


            On Nov. 14, 2012 DEQ inspectors responded to a complaint regarding the conditions of one of the fields used for land application of Norpac Food’s wastewater. Inspectors noted pools and ponds of wastewater on the field and wastewater running off the field into a roadside ditch adjacent to Shelburn Drive.


            The roadside ditch is connected to the North Santiam River and wastewater from food processing can pose a substantial threat to aquatic life. Additionally, allowing wastewater to concentrate and pool or pond in irrigation fields creates odors and poses a threat to groundwater.


            After DEQ inspectors informed Norpac Foods of the violations they observed, the company immediately ceased irrigation activities on the field and constructed an earthen dike along the roadside ditch to prevent additional wastewater from leaving the field. DEQ considered these efforts when determining the penalty amount.


            DEQ cited Norpac Foods for ponding wastewater and runoff to surface waters observed during the inspection and the company has been issued a $9,600 penalty for illegally discharging industrial wastewater to waters of the state.


            Norpac Foods, Inc. has until Feb. 25 to appeal the penalty.    





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