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Country's Oldest Brewery Settles Clean Water Act Violations

Company has installed an $8 million wastewater pretreatment system and will pay a $2.8 million fine.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — The country's oldest brewery has installed an $8 million wastewater pretreatment system and will pay a $2.8 million fine to settle allegations that it sent pollutants to a municipal wastewater treatment plant.

D.G. Yuengling & Son agreed to the penalty to settle allegations that it violated the Clean Water Act numerous times between 2008 and 2015, according to a consent decree filed by federal authorities on Thursday. Companies are required to obtain and comply with permit limits on discharges of industrial waste that goes to public treatment facilities, the Environmental Protection Agency said. That means companies often have to pretreat their wastewater.

"Yuengling is responsible for serious violations of its Clean Water Act pretreatment discharge limits, posing a potential risk to the Schuylkill River, which provides drinking water to 1.5 million people," said EPA Regional Administrator Shawn Garvin. "This history of violations and failure to fully respond to orders from the Greater Pottsville Area Sewer Authority and EPA to correct the problems resulted in this enforcement action."

In a complaint filed concurrently with the settlement, authorities alleged that the Pottsville-based company violated pretreatment permit requirements, including discharge limits for pollutants, at least 141 times in that time period.

The company said the agreement strengthened Yuengling's environmental protocols. The brewery wastewater isn't toxic, but the organic materials can upset the Greater Pottsville Area Sewer Authority's treatment process, according to company officials.

The consent decree filed in federal court is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final approval by a judge.

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