Deep Creek hit with EPA fine

Ninilchik processor settles charges that it violated Clean Water Act

Posted: Tuesday, January 30, 2007

A Ninilchik seafood processor has reached a settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency and has agreed to pay $10,500 for violating the federal Clean Water Act.

The EPA announced its settlement with Deep Creek Custom Packing Inc. in a press release Monday.

According to the EPA, following two inspections at Deep Creek’s facility in March 2005 the company was cited for violating its National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permit.

Deep Creek failed to grind seafood waste to small enough dimensions, EPA said. The company also was cited for unauthorized discharge of seafood waste near a state critical habitat area, for failing to conduct required monitoring, and failure to keep its Best Management Practices Plan up to date.

“Seafood processing companies like Deep Creek need to follow permit requirements or face penalties,” said Kim Ogle, the EPA’s regional National Pollution Discharge Elimination System compliance manager. “Protecting Alaska’s water quality means enforcing the law when discharge permits are violated.”

Efforts to reach Deep Creek President Jeff Berger by phone Monday were not successful.

Margo Young, compliance officer with the EPA, said the investigations — first by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, and then by the EPA — were initiated following a citizen complaint regarding seafood waste grinding and discharge near a critical habitat area.

Young said the violations led to negotiations and the settlement in what is basically an out-of-court procedure that avoids a more formal filing of an administrative complaint. The fine, she said, was also tuned to the company’s ability to pay.

“Our goal is not to put companies out of business,” Young said. “We do take into account a company’s financial situation.”

Deep Creek was launched in 1985.

Hal Spence can be reached at

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