PORT TOWNSEND – Repeated water quality violations at the Port Townsend Paper Corporation (PTPC) mill has resulted in a $27,000 penalty from the Washington Department of Ecology.

Ecology said in a news release on Tuesday that between last November and March of this year, the mill spilled around 800 gallons of untreated wastewater into Port Townsend Bay, and exceeded the pollution discharge levels allowed in their water quality permit 14 times.

PTPC’s water quality permit requires the mill to treat their wastewater before discharging it to Port Townsend Bay. Solids and chemicals in process wastewater above permitted levels can harm aquatic life and reduce water quality.

According to company officials, the violations were a result of leaking pipes, equipment failures, and operational challenges caused by freezing weather.

PTPC has 30 days to pay the fine, or to appeal the penalty to the Pollution Control Hearings Board.

Funds derived from water quality penalty payments are placed into the state’s Coastal Protection Fund, which provides grants to public agencies and tribes for water quality restoration projects.