Sugar company faces fines for discharges

C&H Sugar Co. faces the fines, which have been proposed by the regional water board for the discharges, which allegedly occurred between December 2005 and September of this year.

The regional water board says that a combination of leaking equipment, poor training, as well as inadequate monitoring and repair contributed to violations at the C&H refinery and joint sewage treatment plant.

According to the water board, 32 of these incidents involved the release of water into the Carquinez Strait along with cooling water. These discharges rob the water of oxygen needed for healthy fish and marine life.

The remaining discharges involved various contaminants, storm water runoff and a minor spill, according to the water board.

The board will hold a hearing on the complaints against C&H on Feb. 11.

The company can waive that hearing by agreeing to the proposed fines, and may be allowed to pay up to $245,000 of the amount toward a supplemental environmental project, which typically upgrades a discharger's facilities to address violations or improve a local ecosystem.

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