Hearing on Oregon Water Quality Permit Set for Aug. 30

Image: Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.

Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has scheduled a public hearing for 6 p.m. today, Aug. 30, on a proposed National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit for Da Yang Seafood, which processes seafood at its facilities at the Port of Astoria.

The facility discharges processing waste into the Columbia River.

The West Coast Seafood Processors Association (WCSPA) in Astoria contends that the newly issued draft permit would set precedent for the entire seafood processing industry in Oregon.

A recent commentary by WCSPA executive director Lori Steele argues that the new wastewater discharge permits are overly complicated, technically infeasible and fail to consider the seafood processing industry’s unique traits and changing seasons.

The commentary also alleges that these permits discourage recycling and hinder full utilization of the fisher resource, going against the industry’s values and DEQ’s own goals of promoting recycling.

DEQ had not responded with any comment by the deadline for this article.

Steele said the industry has invested in research and testing new water treatment systems over the past several years, but that DEQ has added new requirements to the permits for minerals that occur naturally in the environment or are ubiquitous in surface waters from other industries.

“It makes more sense to control these pollutants at the source of their release, using effective technology, rather than burden downstream industries like seafood processors that don’t add or use these pollutants,” Steele said.

WCSPA represents eight major shore-based seafood processors throughout Washington, Oregon and California.

DEQ is also accepting comments through Sept. 29.  All comments will become part of the public record.