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EPA, Icicle Seafoods, Reach $85,000 Agreement to Remedy Fish Waste Problems

Release Date: 6/27/2003
Contact Information: Robert Grandinetti
(206) 553-1283

June 27, 2003

The Northwest regional office of the Environmental Protection Agency today announced that Icicle Seafoods of Seward, Alaska, has agreed to settle Clean Water Act claims concerning the company’s seafood processing facility in Seward, Alaska. The proposed settlement requires the company to pay $85,000 in penalties for violations of the federal Clean Water Act and reduce discharges from the Seward Fisheries Facility into Resurrection Bay during the 2003 processing season.

In addition, Icicle Seafoods agreed to undertake measures designed to:
  • prevent the build-up of underwater waste piles that exceed one acre in area;
  • minimize the amount of foam created on the surface waters of Resurrection Bay during the transfer of fish from vessels to the processing plant;
  • prevent the discharge of “oversize” waste; and
  • improve internal operating procedures.

During the 2003 processing season, Icicle will render salmon heads and waste salmon carcasses into fish meal. This is expected to reduce the company’s discharge of processing waste into Resurrection Bay by approximately 50% this year. Icicle undertook similar measures last year to reduce its processing waste output and reportedly discharged approximately 5.5 million pounds, down from more than 10 million pounds in previous years.

Icicle has also taken steps to reduce the foam associated with the transfer of fish to its facility and to avoid the introduction of fish hooks into the machinery that grinds fish waste before it is discharged. Another of the major changes prompted by EPA’s action was the extension of the company’s discharge outfall to a location in Resurrection Bay where natural flushing is expected to reduce the likelihood that processing waste from Icicle’s facility will resurface or that once it settles, it will cover more than one acre of marine bottom.

This year Icicle will again survey the waste piles that were created at the prior location of its outfall. Those piles are expected to be covered by silt from local rivers within the next few years. In addition, Icicle is required by the settlement to undertake a review of its operating procedures relating to compliance with its permit, with a particular emphasis on reporting requirements, and advise EPA of new procedures it intends to adopt to decrease the likelihood of noncompliance.

“We believe that this settlement is another positive step toward a new era of improved seafood waste disposal that will benefit the environment and industry,” said L. John Iani, EPA’s Regional Administrator in Seattle.

The Department of Justice will be accepting public comment on the consent decree for a period of thirty days, beginning when notice of the proposed settlement is published in the Federal Register.