PORTLAND, Ore. — A restaurant near Chiloquin has been fined by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.
Melita’s Restaurant will have to pay $77,524 for allowing sewage to leak onto the property. The fine stems from a 2009 inspection by Klamath County that discovered the property’s wastewater treatment system had failed.
DEQ required the owner to connect the facility to the City of Chiloquin’s sewer system as a final solution to wastewater disposal problems on the property, but in a subsequent visit in Sept. this year, inspectors found sewage was pooling on the ground.
In a release, the DEQ stated the discharge of raw or partially treated sewage is a public health hazard and the proximity of the sewage to Melita’s Restaurant only increases the danger to humans and animals. People can contract food borne illnesses either through direct human contact or through contact with insects or other animals that have been contaminated with sewage. Sewage can contaminate drinking water and impair recreational and commercial uses of water.
A large portion of the penalty represents the economic benefit Melita’s owner Peter Michael Bourdet gained by not connecting to the city’s sewer system.
Bourdet appealed the penalty on Dec. 11. The appeal allows Bourdet to discuss with DEQ whether there is a basis for DEQ to lower the penalty, and whether he can perform a supplemental environmental project that will benefit the environment.
DEQ will reduce the penalty if Bourdet completes connection to Chiloquin’s sewer system.