The following is an Oct. 26 press release from the Washington state Department of Ecology:
Fleischmann’s Vinegar Company, Inc. of Sumner spilled several hundred gallons of wastewater into the White River on May 31, 2018. The company faces a $20,000 fine from the Washington Department of Ecology.
An investigation found that a partially open valve caused 326 gallons of wastewater – a mixture of water, vinegar, bleach, and sodium hydroxide – to spill into the river. This wastewater can harm aquatic insects, amphibians and fish that live in the river.
The White River is home to several species of salmon that are listed as threatened under the Federal Endangered Species Act. For decades, tribes, the state and public have invested funds and efforts to protect the river’s water and fish habitat and restore its threatened Chinook salmon run.
This is the third time since 2014 that Fleischmann’s Vinegar violated Washington’s water quality requirements and their third penalty. The company has paid $33,000 in prior penalties.
Since the spill in May, the company has taken steps to prevent future spills by removing the faulty valve and sealing the connecting pipes. The Company has an existing permit to discharge cooling water to the White River in accordance with their wastewater permit.
“A third spill of this nature is completely unacceptable, and jeopardizes the health of the White River,” said Rich Doenges, a manager in the Water Quality Program for the Department of Ecology. “We expect the steps the company has taken will prevent future spills.”
Fleischmann’s Vinegar may appeal the penalty within 30 days to the Pollution Control Hearings Board.