Department of Ecology fines Mukilteo, Everett companies

EVERETT — Two Snohomish County businesses and the state Department of Transportation were fined by the state during the third quarter of 2013 for violations of environmental laws.

Production Plating Inc. of Mukilteo and Cemex of Everett were fined $11,000 and $6,000, respectively, by the state Department of Ecology.

The fines were among more than $283,000 in penalties issued statewide for the quarter, the department announced recently.

The transportation department was ordered to pay $10,000 for violations in water-quality monitoring and reporting on the state’s project to widen Highway 522 from the Snohomish River to Monroe.

The fine was reduced from the original $60,000 because the transportation department voluntarily reported errors to the ecology department and supplied missing and corrected data.

The department also agreed to take steps to avoid the errors in the future and promptly report and thoroughly document any violations, according to the ecology department.

Additionally, the transportation department will fund a $20,000 fish habitat restoration project by the Adopt A Stream Foundation of Everett on Dubuque Creek at its confluence with the Pilchuck River.

Production Plating, which does plating and powder coating of metals used in aerospace and other industries, was fined for unsafely storing hazardous materials and repeatedly failing to submit information about its industrial wastewater. This put the company in violation of its water quality discharge permit, according to the ecology department.

The permit, issued by the ecology department, sets conditions under which the firm may discharge waste water into the Mukilteo Water and Wastewater District sewer system. The plant is located at 4412 Russell Road in Harbour Pointe.

In February 2012 ecology department inspectors found containers of strong acids in the same storage areas as strong bases and cyanide salts. The company is required to store these materials in separate compartments to ensure that spills or leaks do not reach water or interact in a way that could produce toxic fumes, according to the ecology department.

The company has neither paid nor appealed the $11,000 fine issued in August and the matter will be referred to a collection agency, according to Larry Altose, a spokesman for the ecology department.

He said the company is now complying with reporting rules and has improved its storage practices. The department will do follow-up inspections, Altose said.

“We did have to issue one warning letter on Dec. 18 for discharging zinc 20 percent above allowable permit limits in the third quarter of this year,” he said. “They have been in compliance with other pollutant limits. The good news is they are reporting their monitoring results.”

Cemex, according to the ecology department, dumped inadequately treated wastewater from its Everett cement mixing plant and trucks into Pigeon Creek on May 31.

The company has two locations in Everett — at 6300 Glenwood Ave., near Merrill Creek Parkway, and on the northern waterfront. The violation occurred at the Glenwood Avenue site.

The Mexico-based global company makes cement, asphalt and other building materials.

The company has paid its fine, Altose said. Cemex also has begun daily inspection and more frequent cleaning of its water-treatment system and holding pond, he said.

Bill Sheets: 425-339-3439; bsheets@heraldnet.com.

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