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StarKist to pay $6.3m for wastewater pollution in American Samoa

Staff Writer |
StarKist tuna company reached an agreement the federal government to pay a $6.3 million fine and upgrade its facilities in American Samoa to reduce pollution to coastal waters.

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The deal is with the Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Under the provisions of the agreement, StarKist also must improve safety measures and comply with federal environmental laws at its tuna processing facility.

In July 2014, the EPA in American Samoa reported a discharge pipeline break at the StarKist facility there was spilling wastewater into the inner Pago Pago Harbor. After an investigation, the EPA determined StarKist's wastewater treatment system was inadequate.

The company also was improperly storing ammonia, butane and chlorine gas.

After implementing the new agreement, pollutants in StarKist's annual discharge into Pago Pago Harbor should be reduced by at least 85 percent, the Justice Department said.

"Today's agreement will help prevent hazardous releases at the StarKist facility, protect workers and the local community, and reduce pollution discharged into Pago Pago Harbor by more than 13 million pounds each year," said Acting Regional Administrator Alexis Strauss with the EPA's Pacific Southwest Region.

"Working with our partners at American Samoa EPA, we will monitor the company's progress toward full compliance with all federal environmental rules."