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E & J Gallo fined $378,000 for discharging wastewater in river

Californian wine company E & J Gallo has received a substantial fine for releasing more than 90,000 gallons of wastewater into the Merced River.

According to the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board, the offence took place on 9 August 2021, and saw more than 90,000 gallons of wastewater mixed with irrigation water discharged into the Merced river by a Gallo wine facility in Livingston.

The water board, tipped off by a “concerned citizen”, issued the wine company with fines worth US$378,668 for causing “elevated levels of organic matter, potassium and salinity”, which posed a threat to fish and other river life.

“Discharges like these put the health of our waterways at risk, and the penalty reflects the seriousness of this violation. Gallo has also agreed to steps to prevent this from happening again in the future,” Clay Rodgers, assistant executive officer of the water board, said in a statement.

Half of the US$378,668 fine will go towards paying for a septic tank field relocation project at Hagaman Park in Livingston. The remaining US$189,334 will be paid by Gallo to the State Water Pollution Cleanup and Abatement Account, according to the release.

Along with paying the fine, Gallo has installed additional equipment in its pipelines to prevent wastewater from entering the waterway. The drinks business has contacted the company for comment.

The wine giant is set to appear on screens across America during this coming weekend’s Super Bowl, in its capacity as official wine sponsor for the NFL.


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