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NJ DEPT. OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION NEWS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
7/25/02
02/57

Contact: Amy Cradic
(609) 984-1795

DEP ISSUES AIR POLLUTION VIOLATION TO JOHANNA FOODS

(02/57) TRENTON -The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today announced that Johanna Foods, Inc. in Raritan Township, Hunterdon County, is to immediately terminate further on-site treatment of food processing waste. Odors caused by malfunctions in its wastewater treatment plant operations must be dispelled and current air pollution violations addressed.

"We have ordered Johanna Foods to quickly address these releases that present a potential public health risk especially to persons with respiratory difficulties," said DEP Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell. "We've received numerous public complaints and the department is monitoring the situation until the wastewater treatment facility is in working order."

The air pollution, which occurred between July 9 and July 23, was caused by a malfunction of Johanna Food's wastewater treatment plant's on-site lagoon. A 10,000 gallon release of highly acidic orange/mango juice into the lagoon triggered an abrupt change in pH and interrupted the microbes in the plant's aeration basins, which resulted in inadequate treatment of wastewater and the release of odors and air contaminants.

Responding to public complaints, the department in cooperation with county officials investigated and determined that Johanna Foods, Inc. did not comply with applicable air pollution regulations. Johanna Foods also failed to notify the department immediately of the environmental and potential public health risk resulting from the malfunctioning of its treatment facility.

Based on its findings, the department assessed Johanna Foods, Inc. a civil administrative penalty of $5,500.

A copy of the department's Administrative Order and Notice of Civil Administrative Penalty Assessment issued to Johanna Foods on July 24, 2002 is attached [in print release version only].

 

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