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Wilbur, OR—The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality has fined Heard Farms $11,538 for water quality violations at its Rogers Road facility.

The violations include unpermitted discharge of waste to waters of the state, violating a water quality standard for ammonia and violating a biosolids management condition of its Water Pollution Control Facilities Permit.

Heard Farms' facility at 578 Rogers Road, Wilbur, treats septage from residential septic tanks, sludge from sewage treatment plants, grease and milk processing waste, and generates biosolids. Biosolids, nutrient-rich organic materials resulting from the treatment of sewage, are then applied on DEQ-approved sites in the area. DEQ issued the facility's current 10-year permit on Dec. 12, 2011.

On Oct. 6, 2016 and again on Nov. 15, 2016, the facility illegally discharged biosolids and domestic wastewater from its Rogers Road site into Turkey Gulch Creek. The discharge caused ammonia levels in Turkey Gulch Creek and Wells Creek to exceed state standards.

The facility also violated its permit by scraping up biosolids from a field and stockpiling it on site. The facility's permit doesn't allow it to spread biosolids for drying then to remove and store them on site.

DEQ's order requires Heard Farms to cover the stockpiled biosolids and to land apply them in compliance with DEQ regulations by July 31, 2018.

Improper application of biosolids can lead to long-term odors and run off from incorrectly applied biosolids can foul waterways.

Heard Farms has asked DEQ to modify its permit at the Rogers Road site to add belt presses to dewater biosolids. Under the proposal, Heard Farms would treat the water pressed from the biosolids (also known as decant or filtrate) to remove ammonia and irrigate it on fields at Wilbur. DEQ is reviewing that request and will hold an informational meeting on that proposal on Nov. 8 at 6 p.m. in Room 310 of the Douglas County Courthouse, 1036 SE Douglas Ave., Roseburg.

The company has until Nov. 15 to appeal its fine.

View the enforcement letter: https://www.oregon.gov/deq/nr/110217heard.pdf

Contact:
Katherine Benenati, Public Affairs Specialist, Eugene, 541-686-7997, benenati.katherine@deq.state.or.us

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Environment & Energy
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