Oregon fines Organic Valley $26K for dumping milk into river


SALEM, Ore. (AP) — The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality fined a creamery for river water pollution caused by dumping milk, officials said.

The $26,574 fine was levied against Organic Valley for dumping by its McMinnville Creamery, The Statesman Journal reported Friday.

The creamery discharged 87 gallons (329 liters) of condensed skim milk and 384 pounds (174 kilograms) of milk solids into a storm drain that leads to a tributary of the South Yamhill River Jan. 5, the environmental quality department said.

The creamery discharged milk into the same drain June 25, which turned the creek white for nearly three-quarters of a mile (1.21 kilometers), the department said.

Organic Valley does not plan to appeal the fine, spokeswoman Elizabeth McMullen said.

Organic Valley, the nation’s largest organic farming cooperative, recently upgraded systems designed to prevent accidental discharges at the McMinnville plant and has reviewed proper procedures with production employees, McMullen said.

The department fined Organic Valley $12,600 in June 2018 for a similar violation and issued citations for eight similar violations in November 2018.

The McMinnville creamery employs about 40 people and processes about 500,000 pounds (226,796 kilograms) of milk per day.