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Ecology and salmon related articles

Idaho Fish Farm Settles with EPA Over
Polluting Snake River with Wastewater

by Staff
Columbia Basin Bulletin, December 12, 2013

A Twin Falls commercial fish and frog farm has settled with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for repeatedly violating the Clean Water Act and polluting the Snake River in south-central Idaho.

McCollum Enterprises, Limited Partnership, operates the aquaculture facility known as the Canyon Springs Fish Farm located near Twin Falls. The facility raises Tilapia and American bullfrogs commercially, supplying fish markets and wholesalers with fresh fish and frogs across the Northwest.

From June 2008 to March 2012, EPA identified over 550 violations of the facility's discharge permit, including numerous releases of phosphorus-laden wastewater.

To settle the violations, McCollum Enterprises has agreed to pay a $25,000 penalty.

Outside of the settlement, the company has also invested in facility improvements that have significantly reduced fish mortalities and phosphorus pollution to the Snake River.

"The Snake River is a vital economic and environmental resource for Idaho," said Ed Kowalski, director of EPA's office of Compliance and Enforcement in Seattle. "It's essential for these aquaculture facilities that Idaho waters are protected. Enforcing discharge limits is one of the Clean Water Act's cornerstones and plays a pivotal role in safeguarding both water quality and public health."

EPA officials say the enforcement action is important since Snake River does not meet Idaho's standards for both total phosphorus and total suspended solids. Concentrated fish wastes from aquaculture facilities can cause pollution problems by increasing turbidity (cloudiness) of streams and rivers, decreasing oxygen in water, promoting nuisance algae growth and even causing fish kills.

Idaho aquaculture facilities are covered by the NPDES Idaho Aquaculture General Permit. The Clean Water Act permit specifies under what conditions a facility can discharge pollutants into a river or stream to minimize impacts to water quality or people's health.

Related Sites:
For more about EPA's NPDES Program
For more about the Idaho Aquaculture General Permit

Idaho Fish Farm Settles with EPA Over Polluting Snake River with Wastewater
Columbia Basin Bulletin, December 6, 2013

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