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EPA and federal wildlife officials agree to reduce pollution at eastern Arizona fish hatchery

Williams Creek Hatchery
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/Flickr
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The Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have agreed to several steps to mitigate the discharge of phosphorous from the Williams Creek National Fish Hatchery into Williams Creek on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation in eastern Arizona. The facility has been out of compliance with its Clean Water Act-related permit since 2017, according to the EPA.

The Environmental Protection Agency has found that federal wildlife officials violated a permit issued for a fish hatchery on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation in eastern Arizona.

According to the EPA, the Williams Creek National Fish Hatchery has exceeded the level of phosphorous it’s allowed to discharge since 2017.

The facility generates wastewater from fish and fish food waste, which passes through a series of sediment ponds and is discharged into Williams Creek.

The EPA says the significant noncompliance by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service degraded the creek’s water quality.

The two agencies have reached an agreement to reduce phosphorous levels at the hatchery using a vacuum to remove solids from ponds, conduct monthly sampling and other measures in order to comply with the Clean Water Act.

The hatchery raises four species of trout and is the lead facility for production of Apache trout.