The state fined two Whatcom County businesses $3,000 each for failing to file routine reports on possible pollution in the stormwater that runs off their sites.
EPL Feed in Sumas and Hunnicutt's Inc. of Bellingham failed to provide stormwater reports for at least three straight quarters as required by a state permit, according to the Department of Ecology.
Ecology sent two letters reminding the businesses the reports were due before issuing the fines, agency spokeswoman Sandy Howard said.
Representatives from EPL Feed did not respond to requests for comment. EPL Feed, a joint venture of Elenbaas Company and Land O' Lakes Purina Feed, makes feed for commercial dairy farms.
Hunnicutt's does industrial and commercial painting, either at the customer's location or at its facility on Bakerview Spur.
Drew Sabrowski, production manager at Hunnicutt's, said the company routinely follows environmental rules. Recent samples of stormwater at the site showed turbidity, or dirt, but no toxins, he said.
The company received notice of the fine by phone on Tuesday, Aug. 12, Sabrowski said.
"You can bet I will take care of whatever it is I have to take care of," he said.
The 14 businesses fined statewide, including the two in Whatcom County, should get certified letters regarding the penalty on Thursday, Ecology stormwater manager Bill Moore said. The businesses will have 30 days to appeal the fine.
Ecology has no evidence that runoff from EPL Feed or Hunnicutt's is polluting the environment. The penalty is only for repeated failure to file reports.
"The paperwork is the evidence that we have to know if there is a pollution problem," Howard said.
"Some of the most toxic stormwater runoff comes from these kinds of sites," she said. Ecology regulates nearly 1,200 facilities statewide with its industrial stormwater permit.
The permit requires companies to sample for turbidity, pH, oil sheen, copper and zinc, Moore said.