Gallo fined for dumping wastewater in Merced River

Modesto-based E. & J. Gallo Winery, which produces popular wines like Barefoot and Apothic, is set to pay a nearly $380,000 fine for dumping more than 90,000 gallons of sewage into the Merced River last summer.

The discharge, a mixture of sewage and irrigation well water, was reported to the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board on August 9.

The board investigated the discharge and found that the water had “elevated potassium, organic and salinity levels” that could threaten the health of fish and other creatures in the river.

“Discharges like these endanger the health of our waterways and the penalty reflects the seriousness of this violation,” Clay Rodgers, deputy executive director of the Control Committee, said in a press release. “Gallo has also agreed to measures to prevent this from happening again in the future.”

In addition to paying the fine, Gallo has installed additional equipment in its pipelines to prevent sewage from entering the waterway.

Half of the fine goes to an environmental project in Merced County; the remainder is paid to the State Water Restoration and Abatement Account.

E. & J. Gallo Winery, founded in Modesto, owns nearly 100 wine labels.

The company did not respond to a request for comment on Tuesday. Gallo fined for dumping wastewater in Merced River

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