According to a the 2011 Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) published by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Humboldt Creamery in Fortuna made up 30% of the total toxic release in Humboldt County. The releases were in the form of nitrates as a by product of its milk manufacturing process.
According to Wikipedia, The Humboldt Creamery was established in 1929 as a local association of 152 dairy farms and, until 2009, creamery production was based on 50 small family dairies located in both Humboldt and Del Norte Counties. Wikipedia futher states that, "It was one of only two dairy operations in the United States to have 'free-farmed' certification, a designation related to the extraordinary quality of life attributed to cows who live in pastures."
After experiencing financial problems and a scandal following the resignation of CEO Rich Ghilarducci, bankruptcy was filed and the assets of the Humboldt Creamery were sold at auction on August 27, 2009 to Foster Farms Dairy. Click here to see the Northcoast Journal article on this story.
Use the player below to hear a report on the toxic release, submitted by KMUD News Correspondent Dan Young. This piece was aired by KMUD News Coordinator, Terri Klemetson, on Friday, April 12, 2013.