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MADISON - Trega Foods, Inc., of Kewaunee County, was ordered to pay $36,000 for violating Wisconsin water pollution laws, by failing to comply with limits on its wastewater discharges from 2004 to 2006.
Under Wisconsin law, Trega Foods was issued an effluent discharge permit, which sets daily and monthly limits on the amounts and concentrations of certain pollutants in the wastewater that it discharges from its facility.
According to the complaint, filed at the request of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Trega Foods exceeded its effluent permit limits 25 times between 2004 and 2006. On one occasion the company experienced a treatment plant failure in July 2006, which resulted in an excess discharge of biological oxygen demand that caused a drop in dissolved oxygen, which killed hundreds of fish in the East Twin River, including 84 brook trout. These violations have disrupted the environment so that it will take years for the East Twin River habitat and fishery to recover.
Since July 2006, Trega Foods have installed substantial upgrades to its wastewater treatment facility and implemented operational, training and administrative improvements to better prevent future facility upsets or discharge violations.
Under the terms of the settlement, Trega Foods, Inc. must pay $36,000 in penalties, costs and damages. In addition, Trega has installed a water cooling system that will reduce the temperature of the water that it discharges by 10-15F.
"Wastewater treatment facilities cannot delay in taking the steps necessary to ensure compliance with the Wisconsin requirements that are designed to protect public health and state water and fish resources," Attorney General Van Hollen said. "The Department of Justice will enforce the laws that protect the health and safety of Wisconsin's citizens, as well as its environment we all enjoy," Van Hollen continued.
Assistant Attorney General JoAnne F. Kloppenburg prosecuted the case. Kewaunee County Circuit Court Judge Dennis Mleziva approved the settlement.