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ConocoPhillips to Pay $485,000 for Cook Inlet Wastewater Violations
Release Date: 8/13/2004
Contact Information: Bill Dunbar
August 12, 2004
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) announced today that the ConocoPhillips Company will pay $485,000 in penalties for violations of the Clean Water Act at its Tyonek natural gas platform in Upper Cook Inlet between Kenai and Anchorage, Alaska.
The company reported more than 470 violation to the EPA over the span of five years. All but six of the violations were failures to comply with the facility’s National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit which prescribes specific limits for certain pollutants to be discharged, as well as sampling and reporting requirements. The other six violations were for discharges not authorized by the permit.
Specifically, the facility violated its allowable discharges of copper, total suspended solids, and biological oxygen demand (BOD). Copper is known to be toxic to marine organisms, including mussels and crabs, and can accumulate in oysters. Permit limits on BOD are intended to reduce the oxygen demand of the sanitary waste discharges in order to ensure adequate dissolved oxygen is available for sealife in the surrounding waters. The permit also requires that the facility disinfect its discharges with chlorine. However the facility often failed to meet its chlorine treatment requirements.
ConocoPhillips has corrected the problems at the platform, thus the EPA is not demanding any further action be taken at the facility.
“While we are disappointed that so many violations occurred over such a long time, the EPA is pleased with the cooperation exhibited by ConocoPhillips,” said Mike Bussell, the Director of the EPA’s Office of Enforcement in Seattle. “The company reported its violations to us and then corrected the problems. That’s the way it should work.”
Clean Water Act Enforcement (epa.gov/compliance/civil/cwa/index.html)
Environmental Assessment Reports (yosemite.epa.gov/R10/OEA.NSF/webpage/Reports)
Alaska Dept. of Natural Resources, Division of Oil & Gas (www.dog.dnr.state.ak.us/oil/products/publications/cookinlet/cia1999_final_finding/chap6.htm)