HALF MOON BAY (CBS/AP) — A Half Moon Bay orchid farm has agreed to pay $139,000 to settle allegations that it spilled hundreds of gallons of diesel fuel into a creek and illegally installed an irrigation pump.

San Mateo County prosecutors and Challenge Horticulture, Inc., which operates as Half Moon Bay Orchids, reached the deal on Wednesday.

Prosecutors said company employees damaged a pipe while demolishing a structure last June, causing diesel fuel to spill into Frenchman’s Creek. The creek drains into the ocean.

The company was also accused of installing a pump to get water from another creek without obtaining the proper permits.

Challenge did not acknowledge any wrongdoing as part of the settlement. Robert Wong, who represents the company’s owners, said the allegations were blown out of proportion, and the company settled only to move on.



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