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Hilmar plant fined over waste - Cal-EPA board levies a $4 million penalty

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Kadie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 10:37 AM
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Hilmar plant fined over waste - Cal-EPA board levies a $4 million penalty
Hilmar plant fined over waste
Cal-EPA board levies a $4 million penalty on the cheese manufacturer.

By Chris Bowman -- Bee Staff Writer
Published 2:15 am PST Saturday, January 29, 2005

California's water-quality enforcers have fined the world's largest cheese factory $4 million, one of the highest penalties they have ever imposed.

The enforcement action against Hilmar Cheese Co. is for 1,039 days of pollution violations since January 2002 as the company flushed high volumes of milky wastewater onto land, fouling its Merced County neighbors' air and water supplies.

The state Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board's executive officer said he issued the fine by certified mail Wednesday, the same day a co-owner of the cheese plant, Chuck Ahlem, announced his resignation as the state's agriculture undersecretary, saying he needed to tend to his company's wastewater issues.

Thomas Pinkos, the water board's executive officer, informed his board of directors of the fine Thursday morning, about four hours before the directors were scheduled to question him privately about his enforcement, particularly in the Hilmar Cheese case. Subsequently, Pinkos won the board's continued endorsement of his leadership.

more...
http://www.sacbee.com/content/news/projects/cheese/stor...
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Semi_subversive Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 09:19 PM
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1. I worked for the Water Board for almost 18 years
Tom Pinkos is a class act (environmental engineer and attorney) and a friend of the environment. However, the yahoo down in the Regional Board's Fresno office who managed to look the other way, Loren Harlow, is a putz.
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