Taylor Farms Retail, producer of salads and fresh foods, has settled with the EPA over Clean Water Act (CWA) violations at its refrigerated warehouse and food processing facility in Salinas, Calif. Under the terms of the settlement, the company will pay a penalty of $67,640. The company is also required to take steps to prevent pollutants from discharging in industrial stormwater.
Stormwater runoff from Taylor Farms discharges into Alisal Creek, a tributary to the Old Salinas River which flows into Monterey Bay. Taylor Farms’ facility was operating without the proper stormwater discharge permit from the California State Water Resources Control Board.
EPA also found the facility was operating without a stormwater pollution prevention plan and failed to conduct required annual employee training on minimizing pollutants in stormwater runoff. The company has obtained the necessary permit and come into compliance with CWA requirements.
Stormwater often carries pollution and sediment into local waterways that can damage water quality, said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Mike Stoker. The CWA requires that certain industrial facilities obtain National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits to control the discharge of pollutants in stormwater runoff into nearby water bodies. These facilities must develop and implement a stormwater pollution prevention plan to prevent runoff from washing harmful pollutants into local water bodies.
Still Strong in Sustainability
Earlier this month, Taylor Farms announced that it achieved TRUE (Total Resource Use and Efficiency) Platinum certification for zero waste. The certification showcases Taylor Farms’ continued efforts of ingraining sustainable practices into their culture and reducing waste at all operating facilities, the company says.
Taylor Farms’ Gonzales, Calif., based facility launched its zero waste program just over a year ago. Since then, the facility has decreased landfill contribution by 56%, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by more than 30,ooo metric tons. Taylor Farms says it is the first in the fresh food industry to achieve TRUE Platinum certification.
Other sustainability efforts include generating energy from solar panels, a wind turbine, and fuel cells. These assets and future installations, in addition to numerous efficiency measures, also help the company manage energy costs.
With water an essential part of the company’s business, Taylor Farms uses technology to ensure they are using it as effectively as possible. Its wash tanks, for example, utilize advanced controls and mechanisms to ensure the company doesn’t use more water than it needs.