Pharmaceutical company fined by EPA

September 12, 2008 12:39:15 PM PDT
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has fined a Novato pharmaceutical company more than $100,000 for reportedly discharging improperly treated industrial wastewater into the local sewer system, the agency announced Thursday.

BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. owns and operates a facility in Novato that produces enzymes to treat several medical conditions, including chronic genetic disorders.

An EPA inspection in May found that the company had been discharging industrial wastewater with low pH into the Novato Sanitation District's system and the Ignacio Wastewater Treatment Plant, which release treated wastewater into the inter-tidal flats of San Pablo Bay.

Wastewater with low pH can cause sewer corrosion and collapses of sewer lines, often resulting in sewer overflows and discharges of raw sewage, according to the EPA.

The EPA found that the company had discharged low pH wastewater on 62 days between 2004 and 2007, violating both federal and local standards, and fined the company $119,717.

As part of the enforcement action, the company will also be required to spend an additional $50,270 to restore Novato Creek and one of its tributaries, Vineyard Creek.

As part of the restoration, BioMarin will remove invasive vegetation and plant native plants along at least 1,000 feet of the creek banks.

The project will help the Marin County Public Works Department reach its long-term goal of restoring the watershed, which suffers from poor water quality in part from industrial waste discharges, according to the EPA.


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