Pacific Seafood fined over water-quality violations
The Washington Department of Ecology has fined Pacific Seafood – Westport, LLC USD 123,000 (EUR 114,000) for water-quality violations.
From April 2020 through November 2021, the Clackamas, Oregon, U.S.A.-based company’s seafood-processing facility in Westport, Washington, U.S.A. released wastewater containing fecal coliform, grease, oils, and other solids into Half Moon Bay in Grey’s Harbor above the amounts allowed in its permit, the WDE said in a press release.
The company also did not monitor several wastewater discharges as required by the permit, according to the agency. The fine covers 49 violations. Pacific Seafood has 30 days to appeal the penalty.
Pacific Seafood’s processing facility discharges wastewater into Half Moon Bay in Grays Harbor through an outfall it shares with the City of Westport Municipal Wastewater Treatment Plant. Under its permit, the company is allowed to discharge wastewater within certain limitations and must follow monitoring and reporting requirements.
“Half Moon Bay, within Grays Harbor, contains wetlands and open marine water. The area is popular for recreation, and is home to numerous species of fish, crab, and shorebirds,” WDE said. "Excess effluent from seafood processing can harm aquatic life and reduce water quality. Maintaining water quality standards and eliminating pollution is critical to protecting the health of this important ecosystem.”
In 2020, Pacific Seafood reached a settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over Clean Water Act violations at their crab and shrimp processing plants in Westport, Washington. As part of the settlement, Pacific agreed to pay USD 190,000 (EUR 176,000). In addition, the company promised to take steps to improve compliance at its Westport plants. It said it planned to introduce new programs and use technology to address the issues.
More than 2,000 violations were recorded by the EPA during an unannounced inspection in 2017. Among them were discharge-limit violations as well as instances of incorrect sampling and incomplete or inadequate reporting.
“Seafood processors have wastewater discharge permit limits for a reason,” EPA Seattle Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Acting Director Lauris Davies said. “Local receiving waters can get inundated with body parts, entrails, shell particles, oil, and other byproducts in volumes they just can’t handle. When discharges exceed permit requirements, companies must take swift action to comply with legal limits, or face penalties.”
Photo courtesy of Pacific Seafood