Judge Fines Iowa Company for River Discharge

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By Max Walker

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A judge has ordered an Iowa company to pay a $100,000 fine for discharging contaminated water into a creek that flows into the Des Moines River.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Ross Walters also ordered Chamness Technology on Wednesday to perform community service and develop a compliance and ethic program.

Blairsburg-based Chamness recycles organic waste. Investigators say the discharge happened at its composting facility near Eddyville in November 2010, where leachate water and storm water runoff was pumped from a hose into Palestine Creek.

Chamness pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor after cooperating with prosecutors. The company has argued the discharge was caused by a rogue site manager, and did not cause a fish kill or environmental damage other than discoloring the water. Chamness says it's taken steps to prevent future problems.

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