Trident, feds settle over alleged Clean Air Act violations

Trident Seafoods Corp., in a settlement over alleged Clean Air Act violations, has agreed to spend up to $23 million to reduce coolant leaks from refrigerators and other equipment, use alternative refrigerants and improve company-wide compliance.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Justice announced the settlement on Feb. 19 in Seattle.

Trident will also pay a $900,000 civil penalty.

“As a result of the settlement Trident will implement common-sense methods to reduce releases of ozone depleting refrigerants into the atmosphere,” said EPA Pacific Northwest Regional Administrator Chris Hladick.

Trient is one of the largest seafood companies in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska, and has facilities in Cordova.

The EPA alleged that Trident violated the Clean Air Act by failure to promptly repair leaks of the refrigerant R-22, an ozone-depleting hydrochlorofluorocarbon. Trident’s failures allowed its appliances to leak refrigerant at high rates for thousands of days, causing over 200,000 pounds of harmful refrigerant to be released into the atmosphere, the EPA said.

Trident will retrofit or retire 23 refrigeration appliances used on 14 marine vessels to use an alternative refrigerant that does not harm the ozone layer compared to typical refrigerants. The company agrees to retrofit nine of these appliances as part of a Supplemental Environmental Project. The EPA said that with these retrofits nearly 100,000 pounds of harmful refrigerant would be removed from use, and future leaks will not damage the ozone layer.

According to the EPA Trident violated Clean Air Act regulations on numerous occasions between 2009 and 2016. In addition to failure to repair leaking appliances, Trident failed to create adequate servicing and compliance records on at least 289 occasions, and at times used uncertified technicians to perform work on refrigerant equipment and used inadequate refrigerant recovery equipment, the EPA said.

The proposed settlement, lodged in the U.S. District Court for Alaska, is subject to a 30-day public comment period and court approval. The settlement can be viewed online at justice.gov/enrd/consent-decrees.