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FISCAL YEAR: 2013
1. PRINCIPAL DEFENDANT: Omega Protein, Inc.
E.D.  Virginia  2:13CR

According to court documents, from May 2008 through September 2010, Omega Protein violated the Clean Water Act through the operation of its fish processing facility in Reedsville, Va. and through the operation of its fishing fleet, also based in Reedsville. Specifically, Omega’s processing facility generated a fish waste known as “Bail” water, the court records indicate. This Bail water consisted of water mixed with fish waste and was permitted to be discharged at a point beyond three nautical miles from the shore, provided it was not mixed with any other chemicals or wastes. According to the statement of facts filed with the Court, Omega combined the Bail water with pollutants generated by the processing operations and a caustic substance. This material was then discharged into the Chesapeake Bay at a point less than three nautical miles from the shore.

The court records further reveal that from April 2009 through September 2010, Omega’s fishing fleet was operated in violation of the Clean Water Act. Omega’s fishing fleet was configured in such a way that permitted the overboard discharge of oily wastewater directly into the sea. The vessels contained pumps in the bilge that were connected directly to the skin of the ship so that the oily waste from the bilge could be pumped overboard. The court records indicate it was the common practice for the Omega vessels to discharge oily wastewater in this manner while on their voyages.

This case was investigated by agents from the Coast Guard Investigative Service and the Environmental Protection Agency Criminal Investigation Division. Assistant United States Attorneys Joseph L. Kosky and Olivia Norman, and Special Assistant United States Attorney David Lastra prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States.



March 22, 2013
Omega was charged with violations of the CWA.
CITATION: 33USC1311(a), 33USC1321(b)(3)
June 4, 2013
Omega Protein, Incorporated (“Omega”) headquartered in Houston, Texas, with operations in Reedsville, Virginia, was sentenced in United States District Court in Norfolk, Va. for two violations of the Clean Water Act stemming from its activities in the menhaden fishing industry. Omega was sentenced to 3 years of probation and financial penalties totaling $7.5 million.
December 5, 2016
A probation violation hearing was held in U.S. District Court in Norfolk, Virginia. The Court found Omega Protein guilty of violating the terms of its probation and imposed a two year term of probation.
STATUTE:
  • Clean Water Act (CWA)

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