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News Releases from Region 09

U.S. EPA orders companies in Visalia, Calif., to protect Mill Creek from polluted wastewater

Contact Information: 
Soledad Calvino (calvino.maria@epa.gov)

SAN FRANCISCO - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the resolution of a series of enforcement actions for Clean Water Act violations at three manufacturing companies located in Visalia, Calif. The facilities owned by Univar USA, Advanced Food Products, and Milk Specialties Global discharge industrial wastewater to the city's sanitary sewer system, which eventually flows into Mill Creek.

The orders requires each facility to submit a plan to ensure that its wastewater is properly treated before discharge, and in compliance with federal and local standards, including limits for electrical conductivity (a measure for dissolved salt content). The San Joaquin Valley suffers from high salt levels in soil and water due to years of agricultural production. Salt buildup threatens agricultural productivity and sustainability.

"These facilities have been consistently discharging industrial wastewater that results in increased salt loads in Mill Creek," said Jared Blumenfeld, Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. "The orders will assist the City of Visalia and the San Joaquin Valley battle the salt problem that threatens the local economy."

The violations were documented during January 2014 inspections and subsequent file reviews. All three companies must submit plans covering wastewater treatment improvements, operational changes, or other wastewater strategies to ensure consistent compliance with pretreatment standards. The companies must conduct monthly and quarterly sampling of their treated industrial wastewaters to assure compliance with the permitted limits.

Univar USA, Inc.
Univar, a major distributor of industrial chemicals, operates a facility at Sunnyview Avenue. Univar treats its process-related wastewaters from its manufacturing facility prior to discharging to the sanitary sewer, but over the past five years, its wastewater exceeded the local limit for electrical conductivity, cadmium, and zinc. In March 2015, EPA ordered Univar to cease unauthorized discharges and implement their wastewater management strategy, and the company provided notice of completion on April 6, 2015.

Advanced Foods Products, LLC
Advanced Food Products produces processed cheese sauce at its manufacturing facility at East Noble Avenue. The company generates about 70,000 gallons of wastewater per day, which is treated prior to being discharged to the sanitary sewer. Over the past five years, its wastewater exceeded the limits for electrical conductivity, oil and grease, total suspended solids, and cadmium, and exceeded the pH range requirement. EPA ordered Advanced Food Products to install and startup its proposed system and provide notice of completion by November 16, 2015.

Milk Specialties Global
Milk Specialties Global makes products from raw milk at their North Divisadero Street facility. Wastewater from cleaning and sterilizing its production equipment exceeded the limits for electrical conductivity, oil and grease, biochemical oxygen demand, and total suspended solids. Since purchasing the facility in February 2013, Milk Specialties Global has consistently exceeded the pH range requirement by discharging acidic wastewater to the sanitary sewer that can cause corrosion of sewer pipes. EPA ordered Milk Specialties Global to install and startup its proposed wastewater management system, and provide notice of completion by January 31, 2016. The company plans to invest an estimated $3.5 million to upgrade its production processes and wastewater management system.

For more information on National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit, please visit: http://www.epa.gov/region9/water/npdes/index.html

For more information on EPA's Clean Water Act Compliance Monitoring, please visit: http://www2.epa.gov/compliance/clean-water-act-cwa-compliance-monitoring

For more information on EPA's Clean Water Act Pretreatment Program, please visit:

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