The Washington Department of Ecology is penalizing South Bend Products $33,000 for multiple water quality violations.
Ecology inspectors reviewed reports that monitor the environmental health of the company’s wastewater discharge for 2022 and found four major violations and dozens of small violations. In the four major instances, inspectors discovered inaccurate wastewater reporting numbers that ranged from misplaced decimal points to numeric values that were never reported by the lab responsible for issuing the test results.
South Bend Products facility discharges wastewater into the Willapa River in Pacific County. Under its permit, the company is allowed to discharge wastewater within certain limits, but must follow monitoring and reporting requirements.
The Willapa River contains wetlands and is close to open marine water. The area is popular for recreation and is home to numerous species of fish and shorebirds. Excess effluent from seafood processing can harm aquatic life and reduce water quality. 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.
South Bend Products has 30 days to appeal the penalty to the Pollution Control Hearings Board.