ROYAL CITY –
A fruit growing and packing company faces a $24,000 fine from the Washington Department of Ecology for illegally burning at an orchard near Royal City.
Yakima based Washington Fruit & Produce Co. violated several air quality rules and put the community’s health at risk by burning tree branches and roots without a permit on days burning wasn’t allowed at their facility known as the Tyee Ranch.
An Ecology inspector also found metal, treated posts and plastic irrigation supplies in the piles, which should never be burned.
Burning large piles like this requires a permit to ensure that the activity is conducted in a way that protects people and the environment. Smoke from outdoor burning contains fine particles that can easily get into people’s lungs, causing heart and breathing problems.
Responding to a complaint, the inspector visited the ranch and witnessed the illegal fire. Ranch staff reported they also burned on two occasions prior to the inspector’s visit.
Washington Fruit & Produce can appeal the penalty to the Pollution Control Hearings Board within 30 days.