Dannon to Pay $71,350 Penalty for Spills

In a settlement with Ohio EPA announced on Oct. 9, Dannon Co. agreed to submit a spill response plan, install an automated control system on its wastewater treatment plant, improve operating records and pay a $71,350 penalty for violating water quality laws at the company's Minster facility.

Ten spills or other illegal discharges have been documented from the yogurt processing plant since March 2004. In addition, an April 2007 inspection found the company had failed to implement and maintain stormwater controls around a soil stockpile to prevent sediment runoff from its construction site.

The agreement with Ohio EPA requires the company to install an automated control system for its on-site wastewater pre-treatment plant to measure dissolved oxygen levels and three pH meters to monitor the wastewater's acidity. Both will have automated alarms and a phone system that will trigger during pre-determined conditions. The company also will install an automated pump shutoff that will cut off the flow of wastewater to Minster's sewer system when the automated alarms are activated.

Within 90 days, Dannon is required to submit a spill response plan to Ohio EPA that includes actions to be taken in the event of a spill or slug load and include a regularly scheduled training program for plant personnel who may be involved in a spill on the spill response procedures.

The agreement requires Dannon to keep records of daily inspections of the facility's wastewater treatment system and staff the treatment system with a certified operator and properly trained employees. The company also will report to Ohio EPA the daily volume of wastewater and sludge disposed from the wastewater treatment system.

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