Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Highland Light agrees to pay $135,000 penalty

Here's news from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency:

June 29, 2010

Alaskan processor fined $135,000 for Clean Water Act violations

SEATTLE — Highland Light Seafoods LLC, an Alaskan seafood processor headquartered in Seattle, has agreed to pay a $135,000 penalty to settle federal Clean Water Act violations, according to an EPA order.

Based on an inspection in December 2008, EPA found that Highland Light's 160-foot catcher-processor vessel, Westward Wind, was not in compliance with its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit while operating in Alaskan waters.

Highland Light Seafoods had the following NPDES violations:

• Over the past five years, the company failed to maintain records documenting visual monitoring of the effluent grind size and waste conveyance systems.

• During 2004 and 2005, the company failed to maintain records documenting visual monitoring of the shoreline and sea surface.

• In 2005, the company violated its NPDES permit when the Westward Wind discharged to Nazan Bay.

• In 2006, the Westward Wind discharged near the Pribilof Islands without an authorized NPDES permit.

• On numerous occasions, the Westward Wind discharged seafood waste in quantities greater than the company specified in its application, and

• The company failed to update its application after it made significant changes in its operation.

According to Kim Ogle, NPDES compliance manager, the penalty amount was driven by the lack of demonstration that the crew of the Westward Wind was monitoring its operation for the last five years.

"Monitoring is a cornerstone of the NPDES Program and provides real time input for the company on the effectiveness of its operations," said EPA's Ogle. "Using monitoring to improve operations is an important step in reducing the effects of discharges on the environment."

The NPDES permit program, a key part of the Clean Water Act, controls water pollution by regulating sources that discharge pollutants into waters of the United States.

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