Valley dairy processor can pay fine for pollution

FRESNO -- Tipton dairy processor accused of more than 282 serious and chronic violations of wastewater discharge standards has been offered the chance to pay a penalty rather than risk civil prosecution.

The Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board says California Dairies Inc. can pay the mandatory minimum $846,000 fine -- unless opposition to the settlement plan is filed by the Feb. 11 deadline.

The processor of dry, condensed and evaporated milk has a permit to discharge treated wastewater into a ditch that eventually drains into the Tule River.

The company could have faced a fine of $25,000 a day for each violation and $25 for each of the millions of gallons of effluent the company is accused of discharging into the waterway.

Calls to the company were not immediately returned.