Department of Ecology News Release - December 5, 2016

Sumner firm fined for vinegar spill into White River


Fleischmann’s Vinegar Company, Inc. of Sumner is receiving a $10,000 fine for allowing 10,000 gallons of concentrated vinegar to spill into the White River this past March.

The spill was a violation of their wastewater discharge permit.

“Fortunately, the flow in the river was high at the time of the spill which helped to minimize environmental effects. There were no reports of dead fish,” said Rich Doenges, a manager in the Water Quality Program for the Department of Ecology.

Vinegar is acidic and can significantly harm aquatic insects, fish and amphibians. The White River is home to salmon, steelhead and bull trout and has had decades of investment and collaboration to restore its threatened Chinook salmon run.

The company has taken steps to prevent future spills. Since the spill, it removed the faulty valve and replaced the bypass line with two separate pipes, eliminating the possibility of an accidental release.

This is the second fine issued to the company for a vinegar spill to the river in recent years. The previous spill happened in 2014 and the company paid the $23,000 fine.

Fleischmann’s Vinegar may appeal the penalty within 30 days to the Pollution Control Hearings Board.

Contact information

Sandy Howard
Communications manager