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Fruit packers near Kelowna fined another $78,000

Discharge coming from the Sandher Fruit Packer plant.
Discharge coming from the Sandher Fruit Packer plant.
Image Credit: Submitted/Ministry of Environment

A fruit packing plant in the Ellison area east of Kelowna was hit with another $78,368 in fines for discharging effluent into a failed septic field.

That’s now more than $110,000 in fines since 2022 for the same issue at Sandher Fruit Packers and it remains an ongoing issue.

Sandher was given six months to apply for a permit in September 2023, but has been rejected twice by the Ministry of Environment for incomplete information. They now have until May 10 to remedy the deficiencies.

The principal behind the company, however, seemed to suggest they were abandoning the permit.

President Gurtaj Sandher said in a “community update” the company is working to repair its wastewater management system.

“We have read the determination from the province,” he said. “We accept their determination and intend to fully comply.”

Calls and messages to Sandher were not returned. The update on its website says they are working on a permanent solution.

The issue has been ongoing since at least 2019. Sandher maintains that it wasn’t a septic issue, that it was only wastewater from washing apples and cherries.

Neighbours in the area have complained about the wastewater, which some have said smells like sewage. It’s also the subject of an online petition, which has 1,654 signatures at the time this story was written.

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