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U.S. EPA releases draft wastewater injection permit for Hilmar Cheese

Release Date: 8/2/2005
Contact Information: Lisa Fasano (415) 947-4307

        Draft permit open for 45-day public review period
     SAN FRANCISCO   The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today is releasing for public comment a draft underground injection well permit for Hilmar Cheese, located in Hilmar, Calif.

     The draft permit would initially allow Hilmar Cheese to construct one underground injection test well to determine the potential for long-term injection of processed wastewater from its North Lander Avenue plant.  The permit would require Hilmar to monitor water quality in the aquifer while the company conducts further tests that could result in the siting and drilling of up to four injection wells.  All wells would be located on property near the North Lander Avenue facility.

     "We are committed to finding solutions for wastewater disposal which meet the Regional Water Quality Control Board and EPA requirements," said Alexis Strauss, Director of the Water Division for  the Pacific Southwest region.  "Hilmar's application appears to meet our federal standard for underground injection.  We encourage the public to review the draft permit and provide us with comments, whether by email, in writing, or at our public hearing."

     The EPA permit requires a four-wall well construction consisting of a thick cement outer casing, metal interior casing around the injection piping, and fill cement in the space between the casings.  The dimensions of the proposed well will be 10 inches at the outer casing down to the five-inch injection pipe.  A small pump house will be visible above ground.

     Hilmar Cheese proposes to inject 2.2 million gallons of non-hazardous, treated wastewater from its cheese manufacturing plant each day.  This permit would allow Hilmar to inject the treated wastewater into a saline aquifer located between 3,350 and 4,150 feet below the ground surface.  Prior to full authorization, a series of tests and analyses will be conducted to verify whether the aquifer can accept the proposed volume, or a portion of it.    

    The permit was opened for a 45-day public comment period on Tuesday, Aug. 2.  In addition to submitting written comments, the public is invited to provide oral testimony at a public hearing scheduled Sept. 8 from 6pm-8pm at the Stanislaus County Agricultural Center, located at 3800 Cornucopia Way in Modesto, Calif.

     The draft permit is available for review at the Modesto Public Library located at 1500 I St. and the Merced Public Library located at 2100 O St., in addition to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's regional Ground Water Office in San Francisco.

     For more information about the EPA's Underground Injection Control program go to: 

     To review this permit online go to:
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