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Columbia businesses make changes after violating environmental standards

Two Columbia businesses caught violating the city’s environmental standards have released statements, outlining changes they plan to make as a result.

Kraft Heinz acknowledged they were in the wrong when they failed to notify officials within 24 hours that emissions from their oil and grease exceeded what the city allows, by 38 percent.

After investigating the issue, the company concluded a piece of equipment got clogged with meat. Officials then failed to follow proper procedures to make sure the product didn’t go down the drain.

To correct the problem, Kraft Heinz will reinforce proper procedures with their employees. They also say they will notify the city within 24 hours of a permit violation, as is required, along with conducting a second analysis on the issue.

The plant manager says that otherwise, the plant is in compliance with their permit requirements.

A second company, Watlow, was also caught violating their permit by having a nickel level higher than what they are allowed to emit, by about 12 percent. Company officials say after an internal investigation, they are incorporating changes in their wastewater treatment procedure, which are proven to improve the nickel removal process. The company has also purchased a handheld, digital colorimeter.

In a statement, Watlow says it is increasing the frequency of “lab-verified nickel testing to quarterly at a minimum.”

They also say they have fully addressed the issue and should not see any future issues.

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