The Department of Ecology has fined Safe Coast Seafoods $69,348 for ongoing water quality violations at their seafood processing facility located at the Port of Ilwaco.
Under the company’s water quality permit with Ecology, Safe Coast Seafoods has specific requirements for monitoring, reporting, operations, and maintenance, and must limit their discharges into Baker Bay to protect the water.
Since taking ownership of the seafood processing facility in late January 2021, Safe Coast Seafoods exceeded effluent discharge limits during every month from March through August, incorrectly reported some pollutants, and failed to file reports for September and October, 2021.
During March through August high levels of chlorine, E. coli, and pH were reported 21 times, exceeding the permitted limits. In addition, samples were analyzed for Fecal Coliform, but reported as E. coli in reports from March through July.
On July 1, 2021, Ecology issued a Notice of Violation for effluent limit violations and requested a report within 30 days indicating what steps were being taken to correct the violations. On Aug. 6, 2021, Ecology received a response from the company indicating that malfunctioning pumps were to blame for the violations and that repairs had been made. However, the effluent discharge report for August, showed that limits were again exceeded for chlorine and E. coli.
Baker Bay contains estuarine mudflats, emergent wetlands, and open marine water. It is home to numerous wildlife species including salmon, crab, shorebirds, and eagles. Maintaining water quality standards and eliminating pollution is critical to protecting the health of this important ecosystem.
Water quality penalty payments to Ecology are placed into the state’s Coastal Protection Fund, which provides grants to public agencies and tribes for water quality restoration projects.
Safe Coast Seafoods has 30 days to appeal the penalty to the Pollution Control Hearings Board.