Da Yang Seafood is appealing a $105,000 fine issued by the state Department of Environmental Quality for improperly discharging wastewater into the Columbia River.
According to a letter sent to the seafood processor by the state, Da Yang failed to comply with the permitting limits for effluent 32 times between June 2018 and last June from their facility at Pier 2 at the Port of Astoria. The letter added that the violations risked causing harm to water quality and aquatic life.
“The technology-based limits developed for seafood plants that process multiple species per day were mathematically calculated by DEQ instead of being based on sound science and actual testing. This is the reason for the collective failure of the industry to meet the current permit limits,” Chang Lee, the plant manager for Da Yang, said in an email.
The Department of Environmental Quality issued 18 fines in October and November for a number of environmental violations.
“According to (the) EPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency), technology-based effluent limits are developed independently of the potential impact of a discharge on the receiving water, which is addressed through water quality standards and water quality-based effluent limitations,” Lee said.
Lauren Wirtis, a public affairs specialist for the Department of Environmental Quality, said previously that the self-reported violations had significantly exceeded the pollutant effluent limits.
“DEQ regularly receives appeals for enforcement actions and we address those through our regular appeals process, which is what we’ll do here,” Wirtis said in an email.
Lee claimed that Aqua-Terra Consultants, a business that provides consulting services for the seafood processor, determined that no available technology could meet the requirement of permitting limits.
Lee said the consultant has developed a technology, pending state approval, that could meet the permitting limits, which Da Yang has committed to using in the future.
The seafood processor also faced fines from the state in 2015 and 2017 for discharging wastewater into Youngs Bay and the Columbia River.