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Dept. of Ecology issues $742,800 in fines

The Washington state Department of Ecology issued $742,800 in penalties of more than $1,000 or more from April through June 2021, including a $501,000 fine leveled against the owners of the Electron Hydropower Dam for water quality violations on the Puyallup River.

Penalties are issued in cases where non-compliance continues even after Ecology has provided technical assistance or warnings, or for particularly serious violations, a press release from the Department states. Funds that are collected to to the state’s general fund or to dedicated pollution prevention accounts.

The largest fine, that which was issued to Electron Hydro LLC, came after a plastic sports turf and crumb rubber used on a bypass channel of the dam broke away from an in-stream construction site in the Puyallup River in late July 2020. Pieces of turf were found up to 21 miles downstream. Both the turf and the rubber padding materials are toxic when ingested by fish and other aquatic wildlife, the press release states.

Other significant fines include $70,500 which was issued against Applied Aero Systems LLC after it failed to meet industrial wastewater discharge limits for toxic metals and other pollutants. The Department states the company also failed to properly monitor and report wastewater discharges in 2019 through July 2020.

Kuney Construction of Spokane was fined $43,000 for illegally discharging sediment and high pH wastewater into the Cle Elum River on three separate dates, violating water quality laws, the press release states.

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