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DEQ fines Port of Morrow $1.3 million for ‘reckless’ pumping of nitrate-laced water on farms

The Port of Morrow was fined $1.3 million on Monday, Jan. 10, for repeatedly pumping too much nitrate-laced water onto farmland. (Port of Morrow)

State officials said Tuesday that the Port of Morrow in northeast Oregon for years has spread excessive amounts of nitrate-laced wastewater on area farmlands in a way that contaminates groundwater and was “reckless” in doing so.

The state Department of Environmental Quality made that finding in announcing one of its largest pollution fines ever, levying a $1.3 million penalty against the port, a public entity headquartered in Boardman.

“DEQ issued this penalty because groundwater adversely affected by the Port of Morrow’s wintertime land application of nitrogen-containing wastewater is used as drinking water by residents” in the area, the DEQ said in . . .