Tuesday, November 3, 2009

EPA proposes $177,550 fine for Haines processor

This arrived this afternoon:

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Nov. 3, 2009

Fish processing plant in Haines, Alaska, faces a possible $177,500 fine for discharging fish waste without a permit

HAINES, Alaska — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has filed a complaint against Chilkoot Fish & Caviar Inc. for violations of the federal Clean Water Act.

The violations occurred at Chilkoot's fish processing plant located at Mile 5 Lutak Road in Haines. The company, which repeatedly violated its permit over a four-year period, could face a penalty of $177,550, the maximum civil penalty allowed under the Clean Water Act.

EPA alleges that Chilkoot violated the Clean Water Act by discharging fish processing waste into Lutak Inlet without a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. The administrative complaint alleges illegal discharge activities from May to October in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007.

Fish wastes are the unused portions of the processed fish. The permit requires processors to grind the waste to half-inch size or less. From 2004 through 2007, Chilkoot processed over 824,000 pounds of fish waste.

"Fish processing waste, especially from shore-based facilities, can cause serious harm to the marine environment in the surrounding area," said Edward Kowalski, EPA's director of compliance and enforcement in Seattle. "Obtaining and adhering to discharge permits are fundamental rules that must be followed in order to protect Alaska's waters."

The NPDES permit program controls water pollution by regulating sources that discharge pollutants to waters in the United States.

Fish processing waste from the Chilkoot plant runs into Lutak Inlet. Lutak Inlet is a tributary of Lynn Canal. Both Lutak Inlet and Lynn Canal are considered "navigable waters" and waters of the United States under the Clean Water Act.

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