Silver Bay Seafoods has been fined $75,000 for alleged pollution violations resulting in the illegal discharge of 2.8 million pounds of seafood waste at the processor’s facilities in Valdez, Alaska.
The settlement was announced on June 15 by Mike Solter, compliance program manager for the Division of Water within the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation.
Silver Bay Seafoods, an integrated processor of frozen, headed and gutted salmon serving domestic and overseas markets, has offices in Sitka and Seattle, and operates processing plants in Sitka, Craig and Naknek. The company recently announced plans for expansion of its Valdez facilities, acquired in 2010, with new bunkhouses to accommodate seasonal workers. Chief executive officer Richard Riggs said the 70,000 square foot facility will be operating next year.
The violations of the Alaska Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit happened in Valdez facility in 2013 after a 600-foot long outfall pipe used to discharge seafood wastes at a depth of 180 feet was damaged by a vessel anchor, DEC said.
In 2014, the company replaced the line, without DEC approval, resulting in 2.8 million pounds of seafood waste being discharged in the wrong location, DEC said.
State officials said Silver Bay indicated to DEC that the new line was 300-feet long and thought to be discharging at 40 feet below the surface. The original permit required the discharge to occur no shallower than 60 feet away. An end of season survey in 2014 found that the end of the discharge pipe was actually only at a depth of three feet.
The $75,000 penalty was calculated based on the estimated economic benefit Silver Bay gained by not complying with all requirements under the Seafood Processing General Permit, coupled with punitive elements for the severity of the violations.