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A cool $90,000 is no small sum of money. Of course, compared to $165,000, it's relative chump change. This being the case, it seems

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Dept. of Ecology Knocks $75K Off Double H Farms' Fine for Burying Hazardous Waste (PHOTOS)

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EPA
A cool $90,000 is no small sum of money. Of course, compared to $165,000, it's relative chump change. This being the case, it seems safe to assume that Double H Farms in Grandview, Wash. was pleased with news announced by the State Department of Ecology today.

Via release, the agency announced that Double H has agreed to pay $90,000 to the Department of Ecology to "settle all penalties and legal disputes," related to the crapload of used oil, car batteries and pesticides found buried in a shallow pit at the farm back in 2009. The original fine imposed was $165,000.

Discovered in March 2009 as part of an investigation and emergency response by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the contaminants were removed in an effort led by Double H, one required by an Administrative Settlement Agreement and Order on Consent (AOC). The AOC also called for Double H to investigate a second suspected hazardous waste burial site nearby.

An EPA Removal Action Report from March 2011 details some of the garbage that was unearthed and removed, including "273 pesticide containers of varying sizes, 40 cubic yards of contaminated soil and debris, and bulked liquid waste from both sites." The second site was where the majority of the used oil and old car batteries were found.

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Hazardous materials unearthed at Double H Farms.

An EPA site profile provides more details of the cleanup:

Over a 100 containers of assorted sizes that appeared to have once contained or still contained some amounts of pesticides and oil were found buried on private agricultural property adjacent to a Concord grape vineyard. Washington State Departments of Ecology and Agriculture requested EPA assistance in investigating the site. Using a magnetometer and ground penetrating radar, the containers were discovered and removed. The containers had been crushed or punctured and many were submerged in the shallow groundwater (6 to 8 feet below surface). These containers had been buried along with an assortment of household hazardous wastes and other non-hazardous debris.

Waste removal from the original two sites was concluded in January 2011. Today's announcement points out that monitoring wells have been installed to check if contamination is leaving the cleanup site, with results coming in clean so far.

The Associated Press reports that Double H also paid a fine of $25,000 to the Washington Department of Agriculture, which claimed the farm improperly disposed of pesticides and pesticide containers. By paying the fine, apparently, the farm did not acknowledge fault.

Also according to today's release, Double H, with oversight from the Department of Ecology, will investigate four additional properties it owns where waste material may have been buried and will clean up the sites if dangerous waste is, indeed, discovered. As part of the agreement, the Department of Ecology will not fine Double H for any additional contaminants found on the other sites.

Potentially making the $90,000 Double H will be paying the Department of Ecology that much sweeter of a deal.

See more photos of the cleanup on the next page ...

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See more photos of the cleanup on the next page ...

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