Department of Ecology News Release - November 22, 2016

Food processor fined $22,000 for discharging acidic wastewater in Blaine

BLAINE – Nature’s Path Foods, USA, Inc., faces a $22,000 penalty from the Washington Department of Ecology for discharging acidic wastewater to the city of Blaine’s sewer treatment system.

Nature’s Path, which makes organic granola bars and cereals, operates under a water quality permit that requires pre-treatment of its wastewater before discharging to the sewer. Over the past two years, the company submitted discharge monitoring reports with a total of 39 permit limit violations, including low pH levels that cause acidic water. 

Wastewater that does not comply with pH standards can damage or obstruct sewer lines, impair wastewater treatment operations, and create health hazards for sewer workers.

“The health of the environment is always a priority at Nature’s Path,” said Peter Dierx, vice president of operations at Nature’s Path. “We’ve recently made some operational changes which include sending wastewater to the city of Blaine’s new treatment plant, instead of transporting it off-site. We knew there would be a learning curve to ensure our wastewater met our permit’s pH limits. We will continue to work with Ecology and the city of Blaine to ensure we are compliant.”

In addition to the penalty, Ecology issued an order that requires Nature’s Path to comply with its permit-specified pH limits.

The company may appeal Ecology’s penalty within 30 days to state’s Pollution Control Hearings Board.


Krista Kenner, Ecology communications, 360-715-5205, @ecynorth