Wednesday, December 14, 2022

EPA Fines Knouse Foods In Adams County $230,000 For 120 Violations Of Federal Clean Water Act

On December 14, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced
Knouse Foods Cooperative, Inc. will pay a $230,000 penalty to settle alleged federal Clean Water Act violations at its fruit processing facility in Peach Glen, Adams County.

“With 120 violations, this is one of the worst cases we have seen for a while.  It’s crucial for us to hold polluters like this accountable to protect our water,” said EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Adam Ortiz. “As part of the Chesapeake Bay region, millions of people and wildlife count on clean water for their health and wealth.”

According to the settlement, on approximately 120 occasions the Adams County facility exceeded permit limits on nitrogen, phosphorus, and other pollutants in the discharge of fruit processing wastewater.  

The facility also failed to implement a stormwater pollution prevention plan to minimize discharges of pollutants. 

Excess nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus feed algal blooms that can cause dead zones with little oxygen that can kill fish and shellfish.

The processing facility, located at 800 Peach Glen-Idaville Road, discharges wastewater to Bermudian Creek which flows into Conewago Creek and then the Susquehanna River to the Chesapeake Bay.

As part of the settlement, Knouse has certified that it is now in compliance with applicable Clean Water Act requirements.

In April of this year, EPA announced that it was stepping up enforcement actions in Pennsylvania as part of an effort to urge the state to be more compliant with clean water laws and the multistate Chesapeake Bay Agreement.  

In the summer, the legislature passed, and Governor Wolf signed a legislative package bolstering programming and funding to control pollution.

“Pennsylvania has made remarkable progress, and compliance by Knouse and other industry leaders will help accelerate restoration of local waters and the Bay,” Ortiz said.

This settlement also furthers EPA’s national compliance initiative to reduce significant noncompliance and improve surface water quality by addressing unauthorized discharges and other violations that may impact public health and the environment. 

Knouse Foods Statement

Knouse Foods Co-Operative Inc. posted this statement on Facebook in response to the EPA announcement--  

“Knouse Foods has a history of being responsible stewards of the environment, investing in projects such as our new $20 million Wastewater Treatment Facility, along with the 2010 installation of our on-site Solar Farm, which now supplies nearly 90% of the energy needs for the facility. 

“The self-reported exceedances of our permit limits were associated with the start up of our Wastewater Treatment Facility, a major sustainability initiative aimed at improving the environmental impact of our manufacturing processes, and we are now in compliance as confirmed by the EPA. 

“Our commitment to sustainability continues through projects such as the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay Forests Program.”
[Posted: December 14, 2022] 
PA Environment Digest

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