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OFCO Asks Ecology to Consider Environmental Degradation in Quilcene Bay for Shellfish Operations Permit

The Olympic Forest Coalition has asked the Washington State Dept. of Ecology to consider the environmental degradation in Quilcene Bay as it reviews the Clean Water Act National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit application of Pacific Seafoods (DBA Coast Seafoods) for its shellfish hatchery in Quilcene, Washington. OFCO sued Coast Seafoods for discharging pollutants from its shellfish hatchery without the required permit.

~ Larry Eifert

Both the U.S. District Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that Coast is not exempt from the permit requirement because it discharges pollutants into a navigable water of the U.S. through “pipes, ditches and channels.” The permit process should provide the public with more information about the pollutants and amount and frequency of pollution from the facility, as well as limit pollution from the facility to protect water quality. Attorney Paul Kampmeier, of Kampmeier & Knutsen PLCC, represents OFCO in the litigation and has represented other conservation organizations working to save endangered species in the Salish Sea.

In a related matter, sampling dissolved oxygen in Quilcene Bay this fall appears to show dangerous, near-hypoxic conditions in the water. OFCO believes the degraded quality of Quilcene Bay is due in large part to the increased operations at Coast Seafoods’ facility. OFCO has asked Ecology to require Coast Seafoods to treat effluents before discharging into the bay, and to monitor and report on discharges. Read the full letter here.

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