“Today’s agreement is a win for clean water. We are holding industrial polluters accountable for releasing toxic water pollution. The settlement will reduce harmful pollution and fund important work to improve salmon habitat and water quality.” -Simone Anter, associate attorney with Columbia Riverkeeper.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Food Processing Company Agrees to Comply with Law, Pay $150,000 in Clean Water Lawsuit brought by Columbia Riverkeeper
Cashmere, WA (January 8, 2020)—Columbia Riverkeeper and Crunch Pak, LLC reached a court-approved settlement agreement that will address water pollution flowing into the Wenatchee River. Under the agreement, Crunch Pak will reduce harmful pollution runoff from its Cashmere, WA, food-processing facility and pay $150,000 to the Rose Foundation. Consistent with the Clean Water Act, the foundation will award grants for projects that improve local water quality. Crunch Pak operates a food-processing facility near the Wenatchee River, which flows directly into the Columbia River.
“Today’s agreement is a win for clean water. We are holding industrial polluters accountable for releasing toxic water pollution,” said Simone Anter, associate attorney with Columbia Riverkeeper. “The settlement will reduce harmful pollution and fund important work to improve salmon habitat and water quality.”
Columbia Riverkeeper sued Crunch Pak for violating the federal Clean Water Act and state laws that restrict how much pollution industrial facilities release to local waterways. The Wenatchee River is home to several stocks of threatened and endangered salmon and steelhead. For over five years, Crunch Pak discharged unhealthy levels of copper and zinc and increased turbidity—the murkiness of the water. Copper is toxic to young salmon and steelhead, even at very low concentrations. Turbidity, caused by high sediment levels in the water, can lead to harmful bacterial growth that impair recreational activities like swimming and water sports. Crunch Pak also repeatedly failed to collect and analyze industrial stormwater pollution in violation of federal and state requirements, undermining the public’s and government regulators’ ability to hold the company accountable.
The Columbia River Basin, an area the size of France, accumulates pollution from industry, wastewater treatment plants, and runoff from agricultural lands, logging, industrial sites, and city streets. As a result, the Columbia River and many tributaries are severely degraded by pollution. Toxic pollution threatens the health of people that eat local fish and jeopardizes the public’s right to eat fish caught locally. Rising water temperatures also threaten the health of salmon and other aquatic life that rely on cool water for survival.
About the Clean Water Act
The objective of the Clean Water Act, enacted in 1972, “is to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the Nation’s waters.” The Clean Water Act requires facilities that discharge wastewater into rivers or lakes to have permits limiting pollution. The Clean Water Act also empowers individuals and organizations to enforce those permits and protect the public’s right to clean, safe rivers.
About Columbia Riverkeeper
Columbia Riverkeeper’s mission is to restore and protect the water quality of the Columbia River and all life connected to it, from the headwaters to the Pacific Ocean. Columbia Riverkeeper is a non-profit organization with over 16,000 members who live, work, and recreate throughout the Columbia River Basin.
Columbia Riverkeeper fights for clean water.