Contact Industries and Consolidated Pine were each fined more than $4,000 and Les Schwab Tires will face a similar penalty

Three Prineville businesses are facing financial penalties levied by Oregon Department of Environmental Quality for failing to monitor storm water.

The DEQ has already fined Consolidated Pine $4,336 and Contact Industries $4,772 and Greg Svelund, spokesperson for the agency's Bend office, says Les Schwab Tires will be fined in the near future.

According to press releases issued by the DEQ, both Contact Industries and Consolidated Pines were penalized because the businesses "failed to monitor that (storm water) discharge for chemical oxygen demand, which measures the amount of organic compounds in water."

Casey Jackson, Contact Industries' vice-president of manufacturing, said the violation resulted from a change in storm water requirements that the DEQ failed to communicate to them.

"This was a technicality for this year that somehow many companies missed," he said.

This marked the first DEQ violation for Contact Industries, one that Jackson said the company intends to appeal. According to the Notice of Civil Penalty Assessment and Order issued by the DEQ, the company has until Feb. 3 to request a contested hearing case.

Jackson went on to stress that Contact Industries has committed to environmentally sound business practices, and feels the company has maintained an exemplary track record.

"I would put us up against anybody in any industry," he said.

DEQ spokesperson Krista Ratliff confirmed his beliefs.

"The current violation is the only violation they have ever had, and they have done all of their monitoring as required under the permit, except for that one pollutant," she said. "They have been good environmental stewards."

Consolidated Pine declined to comment on their fine. They have until Jan. 28 to either appearl or pay the penalty. This is the second time the business has been fined by the DEQ for a storm water violation, as they were fined for the same violation in February 2009. That $4,343 fine was paid.

The DEQ found L.S. Transport, the Les Schwab Tires transport company, in violation of the same offense earlier this month. The agency has not yet fined the business, but Svelund said they will face a penalty in the near future.

Les Schwab released a statement on the matter, emphasizing their commitment to protecting the environment.

" In 2013, our process broke down and we missed a submission deadline," the statement read. "We fixed the problem and we've already submitted our first sample in 2014. We're proud to say that our storm water management program has always satisfied DEQ's requirements."

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