Seven-Up/RC Bottling Company of Southern California has agreed to pay more than $1 million in civil and criminal fines for releasing pollutants from its Vernon and Buena Park plants into rivers. The company pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court to 12 violations of the Clean Water Act. The settlement, which includes a $600,000 criminal penalty and a $428,250 civil penalty, still needs a judge’s approval. An attorney for the company said it had not intentionally released the water and would spend an additional $2 million improving its facilities to prevent more releases. “It was a negligent thing,” attorney Harland Braun said. “It wasn’t deliberate, but it was a violation.” A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office said the settlement was the largest stemming from a Clean Water Act enforcement against a soft drink bottler. An investigation by the Environmental Protection Agency in 2002 and 2003 found that the Vernon plant had discharged grease, petroleum byproducts and acidic drink “rejects,” creating a stain on a bank of the Los Angeles River. A 2003 EPA investigation found the Buena Park plant had discharged acidic industrial wastewater into the Orange County Sanitation District sewer system, which can corrode sewer pipes and weaken wastewater treatment. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!