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Alaska General Seafoods Agrees to Fix Fish Waste Problems

Release Date: 2/17/2004
Contact Information: Bill Dunbar
(206) 553-1203

February 17, 2004

Company also to pay $110,000 for illegal discharges of fish waste

The Northwest regional office of the Environmental Protection Agency today announced that Alaska General Seafoods (AGS) has agreed to fix water pollution problems at the company’s seafood processing facility in Ketchikan, Alaska. The proposed settlement requires the company to pay $110,000 in penalties for violations of the federal Clean Water Act and prevent discharges of seafood processing waste into Tongass Narrows during the 2004 and 2005 processing seasons.
The proposed settlement also requires AGS to barge or use an alternate means of disposal until the remediation of its existing waste piles occurs.

The government’s complaint against the company charges it with violating the terms of its Clean Water Act permits by discharging seafood sludge and other wastes which caused a film, sheen, emulsion, or scum on the surface of the water. The EPA also charged the company with violating Alaska’s water quality standards for having a seafood waste pile larger than the one acre zone of deposit for which it was permitted.

The agreement announced today requires AGS to prevent the discharge of its waste into the waters of the Tongass Narrows by either barging its seafood processing waste to an EPA-approved, at-sea disposal site or using an EPA-approved, alternative disposal method. AGS must also prevent eruptions from piles of its waste on the floor of Tongass Narrows. These pile eruptions cause a re-suspension of seafood processing wastes in the water column and/or on the water surface. For years, residents of Ketchikan have complained of the stench from such eruptions.

“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 Marcia Combes, Director of the EPA’s Alaska Operations Office in Anchorage.
The Department of Justice will be accepting public comment on the consent decree for a period of 30 days, beginning when notice of the proposed settlement is published in the Federal Register.