Olympic Forest Coalition, based in Quilcene, Washington, has filed a lawsuit against Coast Seafoods Company under Section 505 of the Clean Water Act, 33 U.S.C. § 1365, for alleged Clean Water Act violations. Located on the shorelines of Quilcene Bay, Coast Seafoods claims to have increased its production of spat (baby oysters) from a capacity of approximately 8 billion annually to 40 billion annually over the past 5 years, which is apparently creating much higher levels of effluent, including “oyster poop,” discharged into the bay. The effluent includes excessive amounts of ammonia nitrogen and other solids that appear to OFCO to create problems for fish, shellfish, and pursuit-diving birds such as marbled murrelets, loons, cormorants, and grebes. OFCO believes that Coast Seafoods filters the incoming water from the bay, but does not filter effluent being flushed back into the bay.
The lawsuit claims that Coast Seafoods uses numerous pipes, ditches, channels and other discernible, confined and discrete conveyances to discharge effluent from its indoor, land-based oyster facilities to the adjacent beach, Quilcene Bay and Puget Sound.
This photo shows pipes and channels discharging from the Coast Seafoods facility into Quilcene Bay.
Because the facility uses pipes and ditches to discharge to the bay, conveyances the Clean Water Act clearly and unambiguously defines as “point sources,” the lawsuit alleges that discharges of pollutants from the facility are illegal and in violation of Section 30l(a) of the Clean Water Act because they are not authorized by an NPDES permit. The primary goal of the lawsuit is to reduce water pollution to Quilcene Bay.
Kampmeier & Knutsen, PLLC in Seattle, Washington, represents OFCO in the lawsuit.