Capital Press

Washington state's Department of Ecology assessed $218,000 in environmental penalties during the second quarter of 2012, including $10,500 for agricultural burning violations.

In Grant County, Dodson Road Orchard LLC near Royal City was fined $5,000 for burning more than two hours before the activity was allowed on March 23, 2011.

Charles Lyons, near Walla Walla, was fined $5,500 for burning wheat stubble later than the time allowed Sept. 13, 2011.

Ecology's best management practices allow agricultural burning when it is reasonably necessary to carry out an enterprise, according to an agency press release.

Growers not using BMPs must establish that their proposed burn is reasonably necessary and that no practical alternative is available. The burden of proof is on the grower, and the demonstration must satisfy the Department of Ecology and any local delegated permitting authority.

Burning permits are required for field burning, pile burning, spot burning and baled agricultural residue.

A burning application, map of the area to be burned and a fee must be submitted. Permission is also required from local fire authorities. A daily hotline specifies when and where burning is allowed.

No permit is required for burning:

* Orchard prunings.

* Organic debris along fence lines or irrigation or drainage ditches.

* Organic debris blown by the wind.

Other agricultural companies cited by Ecology:

* McCain Food USA, in Othello in Adams County, was fined $40,000 for failure to test air pollution control equipment as required in 2004 and 2009 and for a violation of permit limits when the equipment was tested in 2010 and 2011.

* Clyde Williams Farm, near Sedro Woolley in Skagit County, was fined $1,000 for failure to prevent bacterial contamination from livestock manure from entering ditches that drain to Swede Creek, a tributary of the Samish River.

Other fines, ranging from $1,000 to $48,000, were assessed for such violations as spilled fuel, inadequate spill-prevention measures, violations of sulfur emissions, inadequate shoreline permitting and improper storage and disposal of hazardous waste.

Fines are deposited in special accounts that pay for environmental restoration and enhancement projects, research and development, permitting and regulatory programs, education and assistance.

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