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EPA Charges Seafood Processors With Polluting Alaska Waters

Release Date: 3/8/2001
Contact Information: Bub Loiselle
(206) 553-6901

March 8, 2001 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 01-005

The Northwest regional office of the Environmental Protection Agency announced today that it has issued administrative complaints against NorQuest Seafoods Inc. and the Wards Cove Packing Company for violations of Alaska’s Water Quality Standards at their processing facilities in Ketchikan, Alaska.

The EPA has proposed $77,000 in penalties against Ward Cove after July 2000 inspections uncovered the following alleged violations:
  • Failure to route all seafood waste through the waste-handling system;
  • Discharges of seafood waste in exceedance of inch in any dimension;
  • Accumulation of seafood waste, not routed through the treatment system, on the sea floor underneath the facility;
  • Failure to properly operate and maintain all systems used to achieve compliance; and
  • Discharges of foam and scum in violation of the Alaska Water Quality Standard.

    The Norquest facility was also inspected in July 2000. Inspectors found that Norquest failed to route all of its seafood waste through the waste-handling system; failed to properly operate and maintain all systems used to achieve compliance; and improperly discharged foam and scum. The EPA proposes a $55,000 penalty for the violations.

    “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 that each company operates under, so there’s really no excuse.

    “Seafood processing is a critical element of Alaska’s economy,” Loiselle continued, “but it shouldn’t be done at the expense of the environment that the seafood industry ulimately depends upon. We hope that these fines get noticed by others in the industry who will redouble their efforts to obey the law and protect the environment.”