The Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) has issued a $10,000 fine to a Grant County farm for water-use violations.

Ecology imposed the fine against Stevens Land Holdings, LLC of Soap Lake for continuing to irrigate 100 acres of alfalfa without a permit.

Ecology spokesperson Jaime Short says unpermitted water use in the area of the farm threatens groundwater supplies which already belong to legal water right holders.

The agency says the fine comes in the wake of many offers of technical assistance to Stevens and orders to halt its violations of water use.

The issue was first discovered by Ecology in the summer of 2022. Then, in April 2023, the agency issued a cease-and-desist order requiring the business to stop irrigation. Continued irrigation occurred and Ecology issued a $4,000 penalty the following month. Ecology says the penalty was paid, but the water use continued unabated.

The $10,000 penalty is based on a combination of the violation and the company's repeated use of water after proper notification.

Stevens now has 30 days to pay the fine or appeal the decision to the Pollution Control Hearings Board.

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