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Idaho dairy producer fined over wastewater pH levels

May 21, 2014
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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Idaho Milk Products have reached an agreement over violations of the Clean Water Act by the company between March 2009 and July 2012. Under the terms of the agreement, the Jerome, Idaho-based dairy manufacturer will pay a $170,000 fine, the EPA said in a statement.

Between 2009 and 2012 Idaho Milk Products released wastewater from its facility into the city's sewer system, with acidity levels of the wastewater over 130 times higher than the company was allowed to discharge. Increased acidity of water can be harmful to treatment plants, as it can cause corrosion and compromise the integrity of sewer pipes, potentially leading to leaks. Moreover, higher acidity levels can prevent bacteria that break down sewage from functioning properly, thus reducing the quality of the water treatment process.

In a statement released last week, Idaho Milk Products claimed that the EPA never alleged any damage caused by the company to the environment or the city's wastewater treatment plant. It also stated that it did not discharge wastewater into waterways directly, since the wastewater it disposed of reached the city wastewater treatment plant through closed pipes.

Kent Giddings, general manager of the company, said that Idaho Milk Products was committed to improving all aspects of its operations, including sustainability, and uses every opportunity to learn how to be better.

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