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CSPA asks for public hearing on inadequate settlement proposal by the Regional Board for Tipton Milk Processing Facility pollution violations

by Bill Jennings, Executive Director, CSPA
January 20, 2009 - The Tipton Milk Processing Facility was discovered to have committed over 500 wastewater discharge violations. The case was placed before the Regional Board of the State Water Resources Control Board. After review, the Regional board has proposed what amounts to a slap on the hand if the number and frequency of the violations are considered. The settlement offer is an example of the Regional Board's leniency toward polluters who chronically violate water quality requirements. The Board has proposed to illegally exempt the Tipton Milk Processing Facility from some 499 cited violations from mandatory minimum penalty requirements of the water code.  The California Water Code requires mandatory minimum penalties in the amount of $3,000 for specified serious and chronic effluent limitation violations. 

The 80 acre facility processes up to 10 million pounds per day of raw milk and has a long history of blatantly violating their waste discharge permit requirements. The Regional Board's settlement offer... (Continued) proposes that Tipton pay a fine of $846,000. However, some 499 additional violations are proposed to be exempted. 

Imposition of these "exempted" but mandated penalties would require Tipton to pay an additional $1,497,000. The Tipton Milk facility's discharge permit allows up to 4.32 million gallons of wastewater per day to be discharged into Morrison Ditch, Casa Blanca Canal and  the Tule River.  The identified beneficial uses of these waters include municipal use, contact recreation and fisheries. 

CSPA has requested a formal hearing in the matter.

CSPA hearing request