The U.S. Department of Uand the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have reached a revised $6.5 million settlement with StarKist Co. and its subsidiary, Starkist Samoa Co., to resolve federal environmental violations at their tuna processing facility in American Samoa.
In addition to the $6.3 million penalty announced in September, Starkist will pay $200,000 to address alleged Clean Water Act (CWA) violations found before the original consent decree was finalized by the court.
The American Samoa Government has also been added as a co-plaintiff in the revised action, formalizing its role as a partner in the implementation of the settlement.
Under the agreement, Starkist will pay $2.6 million to American Samoa and $3.9 million to the United States.
As specified in the original consent decree, the company will also provide $88,000 in emergency equipment to American Samoa for responses to chemical releases.
“This revised agreement commits Starkist to addressing stormwater pollution, which will provide important protection for Pago Pago Harbor,” said Acting Regional Administrator Alexis Strauss with the EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region.
“Working with our valued partners at American Samoa EPA, we will monitor the company’s progress toward full compliance with this very significant settlement.”
The additional violations included unauthorized stormwater discharges to Pago Pago Harbor from Starkist’s stormwater system.
The revised consent decree requires Starkist to obtain authorization for its stormwater discharges and take steps to reduce and eliminate discharges to the harbor.
After full implementation of the wastewater treatment system upgrades, the facility’s annual discharge of pollutants into Pago Pago Harbor, including total nitrogen, phosphorus, oil and grease, and total suspended solids, will be reduced by at least 85 percent – more than 13 million pounds.
The proposed consent decree, lodged in the U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is subject to a 30-day comment period and final court approval.