The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday announced that North Pacific Seafoods of Seattle paid a $345,000 penalty for Clean Air Act violations at two of its facilities in Naknek, Alaska.
An EPA investigation found North Pacific Seafoods was operating three solid waste incinerators that lacked any emission control or monitoring systems. The company didn't notify the EPA or Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation of the construction and operation of the incinerators and did not hold a permit to operate them, as required by the Clean Air Act.
North Pacific Seafoods also failed to meet waste management plan requirements; operator training and qualification requirements; emission testing, recordkeeping and monitoring requirements.
The incinerators were primarily used to burn clean paper, cardboard and clean wood waste. Emissions from the incinerators could expose communities to harmful air pollutants that can cause eye, nose, throat, and skin irritation; reproductive effects; and cancer. The company agreed to shut down the three incinerators rather than bring them into compliance with Clean Air Act requirements.
“We recognize that rural Alaska communities face unique challenges with waste disposal,” said Ed Kowalski, Director of EPA Region 10’s Enforcement and Compliance Division. “But it is important that facilities comply with federal and state environmental regulatory requirements aimed at protecting people and the environment.”
In addition, between 2017 and 2021, EPA found the company failed in many instances to conduct required maintenance or keep records of such maintenance on stationary engines used to generate power for the facilities.
The Clean Air Act requires certain maintenance activities be conducted on stationary engines, such as periodic oil changes and testing, to minimize air pollution.