NEWS RELEASE FROM:
David Tomkins, Assistant District Attorney   CONTACT PERSON: 
Kenneth Rosenblatt, Deputy District Attorney
Environmental Protection Unit
(408) 792-2572   For release on July 3, 2006        GILROY DAIRY FARMER CONVICTED IN WATER POLLUTION CASE   Today Manuel Furtado pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor violation of environmental law in connection with a spill of dairy wastewater from his Gilroy dairy into Alamias Creek. Mr. Furtado operates the Furtado Dairy, a dairy farm with several hundred cows bordering Alamias Creek. The waste produced by those cows is to be washed into percolation ponds and surrounding property designated for irrigation with such wastes. The State California Regional Water Quality Control Board enforces waste discharge orders to ensure compliance with environmental standards.   On May 12, 2005, after heavy winter rains, tens of thousands of gallons of dairy wastewater were pumped from Mr. Furtado’s property into Alamias Creek instead of to the dairy’s percolation ponds or suitable surrounding properties. One of the pumps which would have allowed redirection of that wastewater away from the creek had been broken for months. The result was a spill of dairy wastewater into the creek which was visible for 4.5 miles downstream. The Alamias Creek flows into the Pajaro River, which leads to salmon spawning grounds.  Fortunately, the spill did not reach those grounds.   Mr. Furtado pleaded no contest to one violation of California Fish and Game Code Section 5650(a), depositing material detrimental to fish into a water of the state. He will pay a fine of $10,000, plus penalty assessments of $23,500, for a total fine of $33,500. He will be on probation for 2-3 years, and required to obey the discharge provisions of the Regional Water Quality Control Board’s current waste discharge order for the Furtado Dairy.  He is currently taking substantial steps to come into compliance with those orders.   This case was investigated by the Central Coast Region of the California Regional Water Quality Board, the California Department of Fish and Game, the Environmental Protection Unit of the District Attorney’s Office, and the Santa Clara Valley Water District. The Environmental Protection Unit of the District Attorney’s Office prosecuted the case.   # # #

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