Monday, July 27, 2020

EPA: Eureka Seafood Processing Plant Fined $75K Over Sewage Violations

Posted By on Mon, Jul 27, 2020 at 12:08 PM

click to enlarge A Pacific Seafood oyster-shucking crew. - PHOTO BY MARK LARSON
  • Photo by Mark Larson
  • A Pacific Seafood oyster-shucking crew.
Seafood processing plant Pacific Seafoods-Eureka will pay a $74,500 penalty for
discharging wastewater into the City of Eureka's sewer system, according to a press release from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

"During a 2018 inspection with the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board and Eureka’s Public Works Department, EPA found the company discharged wastewater directly to the Eureka Slough waterway without the appropriate permit," the press release states. "EPA conducted its inspection after the City of Eureka issued several notices of violations to the facility. The facility also discharged wastewater to the city of Eureka’s sanitary sewer in violation of pretreatment standards."

According to the press release, specific violations included the following: Wastewater from the indoor shrimp processing area was bypassing the facility’s pretreatment system. The facility lacked adequate secondary containment in the indoor bulk chemical storage area and outdoor chemical storage area. Wastewater from the de-shelling process was observed entering a storm drain. And finally, the company was discharging the water used to rinse off oysters and crabs directly into the Eureka Slough.

Pacific Seafoods has addressed all violations, according to the EPA. For more information, read the press release below:

U.S. EPA settles with Pacific Seafood for wastewater violations in Eureka, California

EUREKA, Calif. – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced an agreement with Pacific Seafood-Eureka, LLC over violations of the federal Clean Water Act. The settlement requires the company to pay a $74,500 penalty after an EPA inspection found the company was discharging wastewater in violation of local and federal standards into the City of Eureka’s sewer system and Humboldt Bay’s Eureka Slough.

“Humboldt Bay is an important waterway enjoyed by many Californians,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator John Busterud. “Unpermitted and untreated discharges of pollutants to the bay can harm aquatic life and water quality. Industrial facilities must also treat their wastewater before it enters local sewer systems to avoid harm to the collection system and potentially impacting discharges from the treatment plant.”

Pacific Seafood-Eureka, part of the Pacific Seafood Group headquartered in Portland, Oregon, operates a seafood processing facility at its Eureka location. During a 2018 inspection with the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board and Eureka’s Public Works Department, EPA found the company discharged wastewater directly to the Eureka Slough waterway without the appropriate permit. EPA conducted its inspection after the City of Eureka issued several notices of violations to the facility. The facility also discharged wastewater to the city of Eureka’s sanitary sewer in violation of pretreatment standards.

Violations associated with operation and maintenance of the facility’s pretreatment system were identified, including: wastewater from the indoor shrimp processing area was bypassing the facility’s pretreatment system; the facility lacked adequate secondary containment in the indoor bulk chemical storage area and outdoor chemical storage area; wastewater from the de-shelling process was observed entering a storm drain; and the company was discharging the water used to rinse off oysters and crabs directly into the Eureka Slough. The company addressed all of these compliance issues.  

Under the Clean Water Act, certain types of industrial facilities are required to treat wastewater before it is discharged into the municipal sewer system. Failure to treat industrial wastewater can cause costly damage to municipal sewer treatment plants not designed to treat industrial pollutants and poses health risks to treatment plant and collection system staff who are exposed to these pollutants. Finally, untreated industrial waste can result in pollutants bypassing treatment, enter surface waters, and harming aquatic life and water quality.

The proposed consent agreement is subject to a 30-day comment period and final agency approval. A copy of the consent agreement can be found at: https://www.epa.gov/publicnotices/pacific-seafood-eureka-llc-eureka-ca-proposed-settlement-clean-water-act-class-ii

For more information on National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits, please visit: https://www.epa.gov/npdes-permits/npdes-permits-epas-pacific-southwest

For more information on EPA's Clean Water Act Pretreatment Program, please visit:
https://www.epa.gov/npdes/national-pretreatment-program

Learn more about EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region. Connect with us on Facebook and on Twitter.

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