Feed mill in Wallula fined $10,000 for air quality violations - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Feed mill in Wallula fined $10,000 for air quality violations

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WALLA WALLA, WA – During a site visit last year, inspectors found that Simplot Western Stockmen’s feed mill in Wallula was not using the proper equipment to protect people and the environment from air pollution.

As a result, the Washington Department of Ecology is fining Simplot Western Stockmen’s $10,000 for air pollution violations.

The mill grinds corn into various grits for use as animal feed, which can release a substantial amount of particles in the air. Small particles in the air can be breathed in and cause respiratory problems.

Wallula is currently under a federally approved air quality maintenance plan for managing particles based on requirements for protecting public health. The plan is required because Wallula formerly exceeded the federal, health-based standard for particle pollution.

Simplot Western Stockmen’s air permit requires the use of a snorkel and baghouse, which covers the product and prevents small particles from entering the air. Proper use of the equipment involves lowering the snorkel into freight trucks while filling them with milled corn.

In December 2015, Ecology inspectors observed operations where too much pollution was entering the air because mill staff didn’t use the equipment properly. Simplot Western Stockmen’s reported that the baghouse was operating, however the snorkel was not used.

Simplot Western Stockmen’s can appeal the penalty to the Pollution Control Hearings Board within 30 days.