POCATELLO, ID, Sept. 28, 2009 -- Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) has agreed to pay $14,000 to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to settle alleged federal Clean Water Act violations at the Grace Fish Hatchery near Pocatello, Idaho.
In December of 2007, IDFG informed EPA that spilled disinfectants at Grace killed all of its fish, many of which were washed downstream into Whiskey Creek. EPA reviewed Grace's history and found IDFG also exceeded the monthly limit for total suspended solids in early 2004. The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit that allows IDFG to operate Grace requires:
- Correct use of disinfectants
- No discharge of nuisance levels of dead fish
- Levels of reported total suspended solids and other pollutants to be below levels named in the permit.
IDFG's response has included collecting dead fish along Whiskey Creek after the chemical spill, creating a staff manual explaining correct chemical use and educating all IDFG hatchery staff on the requirements of the NPDES permit.
According to Kim Ogle, NPDES Compliance Manager in Seattle, it is extremely important for hatcheries to follow disinfectant label directions to protect the environment as well as themselves.
"EPA could not ignore the release of disinfectants at levels sufficient to kill all hatchery fish and the release of many of those fish downstream to Whiskey Creek," said EPA's Ogle. "On the other hand, we are pleased that IDFG alerted EPA shortly after the spill and responded to this penalty action by educating its staff to better ensure that IDFG understand and follow the requirements of the permit."
The NPDES permit program, a key part of the federal Clean Water Act, controls water pollution by regulating sources that discharge pollutants to waters in the United States.
For more information about EPA's NPDES discharge program, visit: http://cfpub.epa.gov/npdes/index.cfm