Winemaker settles Clean Water Act violations with EPA

June 26, 2018
Herzog Wine Cellars reaches agreement to prevent unlawful wastewater discharges.

SAN FRANCISCO, JUNE 26, 2018 -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced an agreement with Herzog Wine Cellars over violations of the federal Clean Water Act. The settlement requires the company to pay a $70,000 penalty after an EPA inspection found the company was discharging wastewater that violated local and federal standards from its production operations into the City of Oxnard's sanitary sewer.

"To protect the environment, industrial facilities must treat their wastewater before they discharge it to local sewer systems," said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Mike Stoker. "Discharges that exceed standards can harm downstream water quality, put plant workers at risk and jeopardize the treatment facility operations."

Herzog Wine Cellars, also known as Royal Wine Corporation, produces kosher wine at its Ventura County facility. An EPA inspection in 2015 found that wastewater from cleaning and sterilizing operations exceeded the limits for total suspended solids. The facility also discharged acidic wastewater to the city of Oxnard's sanitary sewer, which eventually enters the Pacific Ocean.

As part of a prior 2016 agreement with EPA, Herzog Wine Cellars upgraded its on-site wastewater treatment system to comply with the company's industrial wastewater discharge permit requirements and prevent pretreatment violations. The company has since achieved consistent compliance with the applicable pretreatment standards.

Industrial wastewater discharges must meet CWA standards for pH (acidity). Low pH wastewater is corrosive and can compromise the integrity of the wastewater collection system pipes, leading to potential leakage. Both low and high pH can damage bacteria and micro-organisms that effectively treat sewage.

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