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Portland, OR—The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality has fined Northside Rock Products LLC $117,600 for discharging pollution into the East Fork of McKay Creek from the Peterson Quarry gravel mine in North Plains.

McKay Creek is a designated spawning area for salmon and steelhead. Northside Rock's mining activities polluted the creek and posed a hazard for fish eggs and other aquatic species during several months in 2017.

This is the second penalty DEQ has assessed Northside Rock for the same violation. DEQ issued the first fine of $55,048 in July 2017. Pollution discharges continued.

In October and November 2017, a DEQ inspector and a state trooper observed opaque, milky brown runoff from the mine entering the creek. DEQ water samples showed the “turbidity,” or cloudiness, of the runoff was nearly 3,000 times more than the allowable level for industrial discharge under Oregon law.

DEQ ordered Northside Rock to immediately cease the pollution discharges in November 2017. Northside Rock reports it has sealed the pond that was releasing the polluted water.

Read the enforcement letter here:

Laura Gleim, Public Affairs Specialist, Portland, 503-229-6488,


Environment & Energy