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Walnut company pays fine for IEPA violations

Published: Wednesday, March 12, 2014 12:18 p.m. CST • Updated: Wednesday, March 12, 2014 4:15 p.m. CST

WALNUT – Avanti Foods in Walnut has admitted to Illinois Environmental Protection Agency violations and has paid a $39,000 fine, according to Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office.

Madigan’s office announced Tuesday that Avanti had admitted to water pollution and open dumping violations stemming from the company’s illegal disposal of dairy waste.

A consent order resulting from a 2012 lawsuit against the company requires that Avanti apply to the IEPA for a permit to discharge its wastewater into the village sewer system. The order also requires the company to refrain from future regulatory violations. The complaint was filed in April 2013 in Bureau County Circuit Court after an IEPA investigation.

The IEPA inspection was done in November 2011, at which time officials saw a tank truck illegally disposing the dairy waste in a field north of the village. A violation notice was issued for that incident.

During a follow-up visit in March 2012, inspectors found dairy waste residue covering the plant’s floor drains and sewer inlets, which could have contaminated the municipal sewer system.

“The waste was dumped on a gravel road northwest of the village, owned by Bureau County, and at a wildlife center, which is owned and operated by the county,” said Scott Mulford, an attorney general’s office spokesman. “The truck was observed discharging the waste into a lake at the wildlife center.”

The original complaint had included additional violations including offensive conditions and interference with the publicly-owned treatment works.

The food processor, at 109 Depot St. is known for its production of Gino’s pizzas. Avanti also provides products for the pizzerias and other restaurants and has a fleet of seven refrigerated delivery trucks.

The AG’s office said the company is no longer producing the cheese, instead opting to get it from another manufacturer. Some dairy producers process the waste on site, while others haul it to other facilities in accordance with state licensing requirements.

The company refused to comment.

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