The town of Wapato has settled a water pollution case with the Federal Environmental Protection Agency for $ 25,750 and pledged to improve its wastewater treatment practices, the EPA said Thursday.
There was no one at Wapato Town Hall Thursday afternoon who could comment on the settlement, according to staff. Under the settlement, Wapato neither admits nor denies the EPA’s claims.
According to the agency, the city’s wastewater treatment facility exceeded limits for the amount of ammonia, copper and zinc it released 3,000 times between 2015 and 2020. These releases went into a low drainage channel of the Wapato Irrigation Project, which empties into Wanity Slough, which empties into the Yakima River, which empties into the Columbia River.
“Wanity Slough is home to salmon and trout and the Yakima River is widely used for ceremonies, recreation and agriculture,” said an EPA press release announcing the settlement.
Most of the violations were for zinc levels, which are particularly dangerous for fish, the statement said. Under the terms of the settlement, the city will use water quality funding from the state’s Department of Ecology “to develop a process to remove zinc from its discharges.”