Unisea To Pay $975,000 for Alleged EPCRA Violations, Company Official Gets Jail Time
|Date Posted: March 11, 2011|
A seafood manufacturer agreed to pay nearly $1 million to settle claims it violated the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) and a related action led to one of the company’s directors receiving a suspended jail sentence and significant fine over the release.
Seafood processing company Unisea agreed to pay $975,000 to settle federal and state allegations that it released a significant quantity of ammonia into the atmosphere in 2007 at its processing plant in the city of Unalaska, Alaska, but failed to notify authorities of the discharge in violation of EPCRA, according to a release from the U.S. attorney’s office. The EPCRA deal was part of a broader, $1.9 million settlement agreement involving alleged violations of the Clean Water Act and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act.
According to the release, the company discharged an estimated 17,000 pounds of the gas into the air over two days in December 2007, but did not notify federal, state or local officials of the discharge until January 2008. Under EPCRA, facilities must report ammonia discharges in excess of 100 pounds annually.
These alleged reporting failures led the company’s maintenance engineer director, Arthur Aliment, to plead guilty in January to failing to report the release of a hazardous substance. Aliment, who was in charge of reporting releases under EPCRA, was sentenced Jan. 12 to 45 days in jail with time suspended, one year of probation and a $7,500 fine.
For more information, see the April edition of the Community Right-to-Know Manual.