Department of Ecology News Release - June 13, 2024

Westport seafood plant penalized $222,000 for water quality violations


The Washington Department of Ecology issued a $222,000 penalty to the Pacific Seafood-Westport facility for repeatedly sending polluted wastewater into Half Moon Bay in Westport. Over the past two years, the facility violated its water quality permit 58 times.  

The facility processes seafood — mainly crab and shrimp. While they are allowed to discharge wastewater under their permit, the facility has violated every pollution limit in their permit. This means they are polluting Half Moon Bay with water that is too acidic, has too much bacteria, and contains too much oil and grease. 

“It’s unacceptable that this facility is continuing to pollute Half Moon Bay after repeated citations and technical assistance,” said Vince McGowan, Ecology’s water quality program manager. “The majority of similar companies in the industry are able to meet permit requirements. The bottom line is that we need this facility to comply with their permit and stop polluting Half Moon Bay. This includes making any needed upgrades to their wastewater treatment system to fix the problem.”  

The company has explored possible improvements to its facility, but has not yet made those investments. The continued violations show that the short-term fixes the business has implemented are insufficient.  

Ten of the violations Ecology cited in its penalty stemmed from the facility not conducting required monitoring of its wastewater discharge. The other violations came from discharged wastewater that had too much organic matter, solids, acidity, oil and grease, and fecal coliform bacteria. This type of pollution can threaten aquatic life and human health. 

The facility has received penalties for similar issues in the past. One penalty came from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2020 along with a penalty from Ecology in 2022. Before issuing this most recent penalty, Ecology conducted two technical assistance inspections at the facility trying to help the facility get back into compliance.  

When followed, these permit requirements help protect aquatic life and human health.  

Pacific Seafood-Westport, LLC has 30 days to appeal the penalty to the Pollution Control Hearings Board. 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. 


Contact information

Brittny Goodsell
Communications Manager