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Idaho fish farm could face penalties up to $177,500 for federal Clean Water Act violations

Release Date: 09/27/2010
Contact Information: Chris Gebhardt, NPDES Compliance Officer, (206) 553-0253, gebhardt.chris@epa.gov Tony Brown, EPA Public Affairs, (206) 553-1203, brown.anthony@epa.gov

(Seattle – Sept. 27, 2010) Under a complaint filed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Lynn Babington and ARK Fisheries, Inc. could face a maximum penalty of up to $177,500 for allegedly violating the federal Clean Water Act over a five year period.

The violations occurred at the ARK Fisheries Tunnel Creek facility in Buhl, Idaho. From October 2005 through July 2010, EPA observed numerous violations of ARK Fisheries’ National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits including:

  • Discharging pollutants without a permit for at least two months in 2005
  • Failing to submit timely and/or complete Discharge Monitoring Reports from October 2005 through July 2010
  • Failing to report quarterly sampling during the third quarter of 2006
  • Failing to submit annual reports for 2008 and 2009.
  • Exceeding permit limits for phosphorus during the months of October 2008 and January 2010

“EPA has provided assistance to ARK Fisheries on numerous occasions over several years to help them comply with their permit,” said Kim Ogle, EPA’s NPDES Compliance Manager in Seattle. “Unfortunately, the Tunnel Creek facility continues a trend of incomplete or late reports, instances of non-reporting, and discharge permit violations.”

ARK Fisheries has projected that it could raise up to 275,000 pounds of trout and 80,000 pounds of sturgeon annually at their Tunnel Creek facility.

NPDES, as a self-reporting program, relies on accurate and timely reporting to ensure protection of water quality. $177,500 is the maximum administrative civil penalty allowed under the Clean Water Act.

The NPDES permit program controls water pollution by regulating sources that discharge pollutants to waters in the United States.

Fish processing waste from the ARK Fisheries facility runs into Pospesel Drain, a tributary of the Snake River. Both Pospesel Drain and Snake River are considered “navigable waters” and waters of the United States under the Clean Water Act.

For more information about EPA’s NPDES discharge program, visit:
http://cfpub.epa.gov/npdes/index.cfm

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