Red Salmon Cannery dinged for Clean Air Act violation

(Photo by Monica Waring)

A Bristol Bay seafood processor has been fined by the EPA for violating the Clean Air Act.

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There were no incidents that triggered the penalties, but rather an alleged failure to report storage of anhydrous ammonia, which is commonly used for refrigeration at food processing plants.

“Any facility in the United States that has above a threshold amount of anhydrous ammonia on site needs to have a plan in place that protects its workers were there an accidental release, and that protects nearby citizens and emergency responders,” Bill Dunbar, a spokesperson at the EPA’s Seattle office, said.

The EPA determined that the Red Salmon Cannery in Naknek, owned by Seattle-based North Pacific Seafoods, had not reported it had at least 10,000 pounds of the anhydrous ammonia. The “hazardous chemical” is “dangerous to life and health,” and “flammable and can explode,” according to EPA.

“North Pacific came to our attention because they were missing from a database that tracks facilities that we know are large enough to store that threshold amount,” Dunbar said.

North Pacific agreed to settle the Clean Air Act case with the EPA. The company will pay $45,743 in penalties and spend another $175,000 on “environmental projects that will help their energy efficiency at the facility,” Dunbar said.

Those will include installing a solar power system and upgrading lighting to LEDs at the cannery in Naknek.