Washington Beef, E.P.A. reach agreement

by Bryan Salvage
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TOPPENISH, WASH. – Washington Beef and the Environmental Protection Agency (E.P.A.) have reached an agreement regarding alleged violations of the company’s permit for discharges of treated water. These permit issues were initially reported to the E.P.A. by Washington Beef when they occurred, the company said.

“The water was processed through the treatment facility and had no detrimental water quality impacts to either Wanity Slough or the irrigation system,” said Rick Stott, executive vice-president. “The water was for the beneficial use of the local farmers.”

This water was historically managed through an innovative constructed wetlands system in cooperation with the Yakama Nation and the Wapato Irrigation District. During the last 10 years, Washington Beef’s waste water permit was administratively extended and the company actively petitioned E.P.A. to establish new permit standards and incorporate the existing cooperative agreement.

Washington Beef has actively pursued the discharge permit renewal, which would allow it to significantly upgrade its water-treatment system, since the company was bought in 2003. Upon issuance of the renewed permit in February 2010, Washington Beef immediately began construction of the advanced wastewater treatment system.

“Now that the E.P.A. has issued a permit renewal and this enforcement action has been settled, Washington Beef has moved forward with investments in the state-of-the-art water-treatment system we envisioned several years ago,” Mr. Stott said. “These investments are part of Washington Beef’s environmental initiatives as the company continues to be on the forefront of green technology.”

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