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Cheese plant fined $75,000 for discharge

MIDDLEBURY The Vermont Agency of Natural Resources Secretary George Crombie announced last week that its enforcement division has formally settled an environmental violation involving Agri-Mark, Inc. Agri-Mark operates a cheese manufacturing and whey drying plant in Middlebury. The settlement includes a $25,000 penalty and $50,000 in supplemental environmental projects. Through the agencys investigation, it was discovered that Agri-Mark, in the course of doing business, was violating its wastewater permit. There were monthly flow, BOD (biological oxygen demand), and phosphorous limit violations. The company also began taking in additional wastewater without obtaining permission from the agency, and sampled phosphorous more frequently than required by the permit, but did not report all of the analyses results as required by the permit. The matter came to light as a result of the agencys routine inspection. It was learned that the violations resulted in part from when Agri-Mark increased its whey production without notifying the agency in advance. After the investigation was completed, Agri-Mark was notified of the violations and agreed to settle the matter. The settlement was reduced to an assurance of discontinuance and was so ordered by the environmental court on Aug. 21. In it, Agri-Mark agreed to take specific steps to insure future compliance with its wastewater permit. It was also agreed that a civil penalty of $25,000 will be paid to the state of Vermont for the violations and that $50,000 of supplemental environmental projects will be funded.

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