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Seafood Processors Charged With Polluting Alaska Waters

Release Date: 12/19/2000
Contact Information: Bub Loiselle
(206) 553-6901

December 19, 2000 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 00-67

Clean Water Act Violations Could Cost Three Companies Fines Up To $137,500 Each

The Seattle office of the Environmental Protection Agency today announced that Alaska General Seafoods of Ketchikan, Trident Seafoods of Ketchikan, and Icicle Seafoods of Seward have seriously violated the terms of their Clean Water Act permits by dumping excess seafood processing wastes from their discharge pipes.

The complaints charge the companies with violating their Clean Water Act permits when they discharged seafood sludge and other wastes which caused a film, sheen, emulsion, or scum on the surface of the water, which violates Alaska’s water quality standards. The EPA also charged the companies with permit violations for discharging settleable (sinking) solids in violation of Alaska’s water quality standards beyond one acre. Each company faces penalties of up to $137,500 for these violations.

As noted in the complaints, depositing seafood waste in excess of a one-acre zone damages invertebrate populations and removes dissolved oxygen from overlying waters. The presence of scum and foam on the surface of a water body can increase turbidity which can decrease light penetration into the water, reducing production of organisms on the lower scale of the food chain and decreasing fish food. The increase in turbidity also reduces the dispersion of dissolved oxygen and nutrients to lower portions of the water body.

“These companies ought to know better,” said Bub Loiselle, Manager of the EPA’s Water Quality Compliance Unit. “What is allowed and what isn’t are clearly stated in the permits under which each company operates, so these violations really are inexcusable.

“Seafood processing is a critical element of Alaska’s economy,” Loiselle continued, “but it shouldn’t be done at the expense of the environment around these facilties. These companies need to get their acts together.”