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Historic Petaluma Creamery Delivers $844K Payment Toward Delinquent Wastewater Fines, Fees

PETALUMA (KPIX) -- The historic Petaluma Creamery has been in business for more than a 100 years but what happens in the next 100 days will determine if it stays in business.

Monday afternoon, the company delivered a cashiers check in the amount of $844,328. 17 to City Hall, as payment toward delinquent fines and fees for wastewater violations, according to a report in the Press Democrat.

The city of Petaluma was threatening to revoke the Petaluma Creamery's wastewater discharge permit and gave the company two weeks before the city shuts off access to the sewer system.

Petaluma's mayor says the Creamery has a long history of discharge violations and failure to pay fees.

"We're $1.4 million dollars in arears with the Creamery," said Mayor Teresa Barrett. "Yes, that is a lot of money and as I said, it did not happen over night."

Monday's payment is about 60 percent of the outstanding bill.

Petaluma claims the Creamery has dumped excessive oil and grease beyond the permit limits since 2008, receiving multiple fines and penalties. Mayor Barrett believes the Creamery may still have options to stay in business, even if the sewer system is shut off.

"There are options for them to deal with their wastewater and that would include trucking it to a place like the Laguna Plant in Santa Rosa. They'd still owe the city the money, yes", said Barrett.

The prospect of potentially closing the 5-acre plant site was real. There are more than 50 employees who might lose their jobs.

Mike Jacobsen is one of those loyal employees. He has been working there for more than 30 years. He started just after high school. His cousins worked here. His grandfather worked here. He's hoping for the best.

"I like my job. I like the Creamery. It's been a home for me a long time so, you know…I say my prayers and do my job," said Jacobsen.

Before the creamery delivered the check to the city, KPIX reached out by phone and visited their office only to hear "No Comment" as the phone hung up.

Meanwhile, special crews were removing ammonia from the refrigeration systems. It's unclear if that system is being shut down for good or being replaced.

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