Clean Water Act (CWA): Agriculture-Related Enforcement Cases Archive for 2008
The following are agriculture-related enforcement cases pertaining to the Clean Water Act. More Clean Water Act enforcement cases can be found under the Animal Feeding Operations enforcement cases.
The following links are provided for navigation to CWA enforcement cases below by date for 2008:
CWA Enforcement Cases for 2008
- December 15, 2008: EPA Orders Restoration of Damaged Section of Left Hand Creek in Longmont
- November 6, 2008: Damages to Rock Creek from Discharged Material Result in $35,000
- October 23, 2008: Northern California Construction Company Ordered To Restore Damaged Wetlands
- September 11, 2008: California Tribe Agrees To Restore Damaged Klamath River Wetlands
- September 8, 2008: Aberdeen Landowner Fined $14,000 for Wetland Violations
- September 4, 2008: Vermont Dairy Farmers Pay Consequences for Filling 41 Acres of Wetlands
- September 3, 2008: EPA Orders Illinois Dairy To Stop Discharges, Apply for Permit
- August 27, 2008: Alaskan Seafood Processor Fined $38,000 for Polluting the Kenai River
- August 7, 2008: EPA Orders Texas Feeding Operation To Stop Discharge of Pollutants
- August 7, 2008: EPA Orders Texas Dairy To Stop Unauthorized Discharges
- August 5, 2008: Landowner Faces Penalties for Damaging Alaskan Wetlands and Streams
- July 28, 2008: Property Owner and Contractor Ordered To Restore Filled Wetland
- July 15, 2008: Landscaping Business Fined $12,300 After Misused Pesticides Reach Northern California Waterway
- June 17, 2008: Owners of Maine Vacation Parcel Face EPA Fine for Filling Wetland
- May 15, 2008: Massachusetts Race Course Ordered To Reduce Bacterial Waste in Stormwater
- April 28, 2008: EPA Reaches $40,000 Settlement With Idaho Property Owner and Contractor for Wetlands Violations
- April 10, 2008: Alaskan Seafood Processor Fined Over $54,000 for Clean Water Act Violations
- April 7, 2008: Washington Dairy Facility To Pay for Alleged Violations Related to Animal Waste
- February 26, 2008: Home Depot Settles Storm Water Violations
- January 28, 2008: EPA Takes Enforcement Action To Protect Streams in Missouri
- January 9, 2008: EPA Orders Restoration of Damaged Colorado Creek and Wetlands
December 15, 2008
EPA Orders Restoration of Damaged Section of Left Hand Creek in Longmont
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued a compliance order to Lawrence Germann for violations of the Clean Water Act in Longmont, Colo. Germann allegedly violated the Act by excavating and placing material in Left Hand Creek without a permit. The order requires Germann to correct the environmental damage resulting from these unauthorized activities. Left Hand Creek flows perennially and is a tributary to St. Vrain Creek.
EPA's order is based on actions that occurred during April and May of 2008, when Germann, or persons acting on his behalf, partially constructed a new channel and placed a 5 to 8-foot wide swath of material into 300 feet of the existing channel of Left Hand Creek. Germann did not obtain a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers prior to performing this work.
"Left Hand Creek provides important functions including aquatic and wildlife habitat, flood attenuation, groundwater recharge, recreation and aesthetics," said EPA's Enforcement Director in Denver, Mike Gaydosh. "EPA's goals are to secure the restoration of this section of the Creek and to deter future violations of laws that protect the integrity of Colorado's waters."
The EPA order requires Germann to remove all discharged material and restore the impacted areas to pre-impact conditions and grade. Prior to doing the work, Germann must submit a restoration plan that details how the removal and restoration will be accomplished. Respondents who fail to respond to EPA orders are subject to additional actions, including civil enforcement lawsuits filed by the U.S. Department of Justice in federal court.
Germann should have contacted the Corps to obtain a permit prior to commencing his activities. Permits are required before performing any work that results in material being excavated from or placed into rivers, lakes, streams, and certain wetlands. Any person planning to do such work should contact the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Denver Regulatory Office at 9307 South Wadsworth Ave., Littleton, CO, 80128-6901 or telephone 303-979-4120.
November 6, 2008
Damages to Rock Creek from Discharged Material Result in $35,000
Kenneth L. Schell and Twin Peaks Excavating, Inc. of Erie, Colo., have agreed to pay a civil penalty of $35,000 for alleged unauthorized discharges of excavated material to Rock Creek.
The alleged violations of the Clean Water Act occurred during the spring of 2007, when Schell and Twin Peaks excavated a new stream channel in Rock Creek and filled adjacent wetlands and approximately 150 feet of the original channel. Schell and Twin Peaks did not obtain a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers prior to performing this work. These actions occurred on the City of Lafayette's open space property and were performed without the City's permission or knowledge.
"EPA is taking this action to protect Colorado's water resources and to deter future violations of federal laws," said Mike Gaydosh, EPA's Assistant Regional Administrator for Enforcement in Denver. "Waters such as Rock Creek provide a variety of functions, including flood control, groundwater recharge, pollutant filtering, and habitat for plants and animals. To maintain those functions, it is imperative that those undertaking activities that alter Colorado's waters and wetlands secure a permit for their actions."
In December of 2007, EPA issued a compliance order which required Schell and Twin Peaks to correct the environmental damage and restore the impacted creek and wetlands. In March of 2008, EPA approved Schell and Twin Peaks' restoration plan which is being implemented in accordance with an approved schedule.
October 23, 2008
Northern California Construction Company Ordered To Restore Damaged Wetlands
EPA has ordered Dennis Wendt and Wendt Construction to restore sensitive wetlands near the Eel River that the company illegally graded and filled during construction activities at its housing development site in Fortuna, California.
The order requires the company to remove soil and other fill, restore wetland habitat, including vegetation with native species, implement measures to control sedimentation and erosion of bank areas, and obtain a permit for any future discharges to wetlands. The company must also implement a five-year monitoring program and submit annual monitoring reports to the EPA.
"EPA is committed to protecting our valuable rivers and streams from unauthorized filling and dumping," said Alexis Strauss, the EPA's Water Division director for the Pacific Southwest region. "Strongs Creek supports a critical habitat for a very diverse fish population, including rare and threatened species, such as Coho salmon and steelhead trout."
In late September 2007, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers inspected the property and discovered that Wendt Construction was filling and grading the wetlands along Strongs Creek, which leads to the Eel River. The Corps ordered the company to immediately stop unauthorized activities and remove the fill material by May. The company failed to comply with the order.
EPA, along with the Corps and the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board, investigated the site in January and discovered significantly disturbed vegetation and soil surfaces throughout the property and fill material within the wetlands.
September 11, 2008
California Tribe Agrees To Restore Damaged Klamath River Wetlands
EPA has entered into a consent order with the Coast Indian Community of the Resighini Rancheria that requires the tribe to restore approximately 15 acres of willow forest it cleared that caused unauthorized discharges to wetlands adjacent to the Klamath River in Northern California.
In December 2006 and January 2007, the Resighini Rancheria placed fill material without a permit into wetlands adjacent to the Klamath River just east of the Highway 101 bridge crossing in Del Norte County.
"We’re taking action to benefit the Klamath River and its local communities -- restoring a willow forest that serves to lessen the severity of floods, filter pollutants, and provide habitat and nutrients for several native fish species, including coho and steelhead salmon,” said Alexis Strauss, director of the EPA’s Water Division for the Pacific Southwest. “The EPA is committed to working with the tribe to enforce federal laws to protect these valued resources.”
The Clean Water Act prohibits the placement of dredged or fill materials into wetlands, rivers, streams and other waters of the United States without a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The tribe agreed to begin restoring the wetlands within 90 days, submit quarterly progress reports, and submit annual monitoring reports to the EPA once the work is completed.
The Klamath River Basin, which covers 10.5 million acres in southern Oregon and Northern California, is home to six federally-recognized tribes and several National Wildlife Refuges, parks and forests. The Klamath Basin has resource issues including water allocation, water quality, and threatened and endangered species. The Klamath River is the third-largest producer of salmon on the West Coast, following closely behind the Sacramento and Columbia rivers.
September 8, 2008
Aberdeen Landowner Fined $14,000 for Wetland Violations
Jack Thompson and Thompson Leasing Company Inc. of Aberdeen, Washington have agreed to pay the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) a $14,000 penalty to resolve allegations that the company illegally filled wetlands without a Clean Water Act permit. According to EPA, in July 2003, Thompson filled 1.5 acres of wetlands on his property adjacent to the Wishkah River in Aberdeen. Thompson failed to obtain the required Clean Water Act Section 404 permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers before performing the work.
In the fall of 2007, Mr. Thompson removed the fill from the wetlands on his property and began replanting the site under EPA direction. EPA continues to monitor the site to determine if the wetland restoration will be successful.
According to Tom Eaton, EPA's Washington Operations Director in Olympia, construction in wetlands must be avoided if at all possible, but if not avoidable, then Section 404 Clean Water Act permits must be obtained first to minimize impacts to the environment. "This is especially important in areas like the Wishkah River watershed where so many wetlands have already been lost," said Eaton. "Wetlands like these help prevent flooding, stabilize river flows and provide valuable habitat for salmon and other threatened and endangered wildlife in Washington."
September 4, 2008
Vermont Dairy Farmers Pay Consequences for Filling 41 Acres of Wetlands
The owners of the Richford, Vt. Pleasant Valley Farm, Mark and Amanda St. Pierre, will pay a significant penalty, restore damaged wetlands, and perform additional environmental projects under the terms of a settlement with EPA and the U.S. Dept. of Justice for converting 41 acres of wetlands to corn and hay production areas on their dairy farm.
An EPA investigation concluded that the dairy farmers filled slightly more than 40 acres of wetlands between 1998 and 2002, during the course of expanding forage acres to support their dairy herd. The St. Pierres did not seek or obtain environmental review of or permits for these actions, violating the federal Clean Water Act by illegally discharging dredged and fill material into approximately 41 acres of wetlands and a stream.
"Losing more than 40 acres of wetlands in New England is significant," said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. "Wetlands are incredibly productive and important ecological areas. All property owners can be good stewards of the land by following appropriate steps before altering wetlands, to ensure that these valuable areas are protected."
Undisturbed wetlands provide many environmental benefits, including wildlife habitat, groundwater discharge and recharge areas, sediment and toxin removal and flood water storage. The wetlands filled were located in the watersheds of the Missisquoi and Pike Rivers, both of which flow into Lake Champlain. These wetlands likely helped stabilize stream banks, detained nutrients and sediments, filtered pollutants and helped absorb flood waters.
The St. Pierres’ violation was more than double the largest permitted fill in Vermont in almost fifteen years. Under the settlement with EPA and DOJ, the St. Pierres will pay a civil penalty, restore most of the damaged wetlands, restore additional areas as compensatory mitigation, and perform a supplemental environmental project. The combined value of the penalty restoration, compensatory mitigation, and supplemental environmental project exceeds $100,000.
The settlement requires complete restoration of approximately 29 acres of wetlands, while allowing the St. Pierres to retain approximately 12 acres of wetlands that had been converted to hay fields at several different sites in the course of squaring off existing hay fields and where the impacts of converting the wetlands were minimal. The St. Pierres must provide compensatory mitigation for the acreage that will not be restored, including restoration of wetlands – currently in corn production – within the floodplain of the Pike River.
Further, the supplemental project under the settlement will require the St. Pierres to restore approximately 9.4 acres of wetlands – currently in corn production and adjacent to the Missisquoi River – which are next to two of the sites filled by the St. Pierres. The settlement also requires these additional restored areas to be protected through a conservation easement.
September 3, 2008
EPA Orders Illinois Dairy To Stop Discharges, Apply for Permit
EPA Region 5 has ordered Mondt Dairy Farm in Aviston, Illinois to stop discharging stormwater and process wastewater, apply for a wastewater discharge permit from Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, and come into compliance with the Clean Water Act.
Mondt Dairy Farm is a medium-sized confined animal feeding operation (CAFO) with a capacity for 350 cows. EPA conducted a flyover and subsequent inspection of the dairy and found several violations of the Clean Water Act. EPA determined the need for a wastewater discharge permit and the installation of waste containment structures to prevent the discharge of process wastewater to Sugar Creek.
Stormwater run-off and production area discharges from CAFOs typically contain very high levels of nutrients and pathogens that can pose a threat to public health and harm aquatic life. The Clean Water Act requires CAFOs that discharge to obtain and comply with Clean Water Act permits.
August 27, 2008
Alaskan Seafood Processor Fined $38,000 for Polluting the Kenai River
Salamatof Seafoods Inc. (Salamatof), an Alaskan seafood processor plant located in Kenai, Alaska has agreed to pay a $38,000 penalty to settle alleged federal Clean Water Act violations. The Salamatof plant was inspected by EPA and the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation in 2002, 2005 and 2006 and cited for violations of the company’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. The plant discharges seafood processing wastewater into the Kenai River which flows into Cook Inlet.
The alleged violations included:
- the unauthorized discharges of seafood processing waste into the Kenai River;
- the failure to monitor;
- the failure to develop and operate in accordance with an appropriate
- best management practices plan; and
- the failure to submit annual reports.
August 7, 2008
EPA Orders Texas Feeding Operation To Stop Discharge of Pollutants
EPA has issued a cease and desist administrative order to Mark Allen and Vernon Feeders in Vernon, Texas, for violations of the federal Clean Water Act. The cattle feeding operation, a non-permitted Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO), is located in Vernon, off Highway 287, in Wilbarger County, Texas. The facility has been ordered to immediately stop all discharges of pollutants in storm water runoff from its animal confinement areas to Paradise Creek. The cattle feeding operation has been given 45 days to provide to EPA documentation that it has adequate capacity to contain all waste and process-generated wastewater plus storm water generated during a 25-year, 24-hour storm event. The facility has also been given 45 days to develop and implement a pollution prevention plan that includes procedures specifically designed to minimize the discharge of pollutants from its animal confinement areas.
In June 2008, EPA conducted an unannounced inspection of the facility. The inspection revealed that this facility is not properly designed, constructed, and operated to contain all waste and process-generated wastewater plus storm water runoff. The inspection also revealed an unauthorized discharge to Paradise Creek, a tributary of the Pease River. Paradise Creek flows about half-a-mile before it discharges to Pease River, which eventually discharges to the Red River. Based on these findings, the owner and operator of the cattle feeding operation has been ordered to immediately take action to bring the facility into compliance with the Clean Water Act.
August 7, 2008
EPA Orders Texas Dairy To Stop Unauthorized Discharges
EPA has issued a cease and desist administrative order to Ray Hoffman, Jr. Dairy in Windthorst, Texas, for violations of the federal Clean Water Act. The dairy, an unpermitted Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO), is located about five miles west of Windthorst, off Highway 25, about one-half mile south on Munchrath Road, in Archer County, Texas. The facility has been ordered to immediately stop all discharges of pollutants from its lagoon to waters of the United States. The dairy has been given 45 days to provide to EPA documentation that the facility has adequate lagoon capacity to contain all waste and process-generated wastewater plus storm water runoff during a 25-year, 24-hour storm event. The facility has also been given 45 days to develop and implement a pollution prevention plan that will include procedures for the proper utilization of nutrients generated by the dairy, proper disposal of dead animals and the proper maintenance of records, especially records documenting wastewater levels in the lagoon to minimize lagoon overflows.
In April 2008, EPA inspected the facility and determined that it did not have CAFO permit coverage. The inspection also revealed an unauthorized discharge from the dairy that entered an unnamed creek that traveled about one mile before entering Little Onion Creek. Little Onion Creek flows about three miles before it enters Onion Creek, which discharges into the Little Wichita River. The Little Wichita River flows about seven-and-one-half miles before discharging into Lake Arrowhead. Based on these findings, the owner and operator of the dairy has been ordered to immediately take action to bring the facility into compliance with the Clean Water Act.
August 5, 2008
Landowner Faces Penalties for Damaging Alaskan Wetlands and Streams
Mr. David R. Sweezey is facing penalties from EPA for illegally filling wetlands and streams on his Anchorage, Alaska property. By filing its Clean Water Act complaint against Mr. Sweezey, EPA can now seek penalties of up to $32,500 per day of violation and administrative penalties of up to $11,000 per day for each violation.
In July 2003, Mr. Sweezey used heavy equipment to clear, grade, and fill wetlands and streams to create a pond on his property without first obtaining a required Clean Water Act Section 404 permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Mr. Sweezey’s actions seriously damaged 300 linear feet of nearby stream channels and 0.5 acres of wetlands on his property. This Site is adjacent to Craig Creek which drains into Cook Inlet. In May 2005, EPA issued a Compliance Order to Mr. Sweezey requiring him to restore the streams and wetlands on site. Since 2005, Mr. Sweezey has refused to restore the streams and wetlands, even after multiple attempts by EPA to comply and repair the damage. According to Greg Kellogg, EPA Alaska Operations Office Deputy Director, because Mr. Sweezey has failed to cooperate and restore the damaged wetlands and streams, EPA has decided to pursue penalties in this case.
"Alaska’s wetlands aren't just valuable habitat for fish and wildlife, they contribute substantially to Alaska’s economy," said Kellogg. "Wetland construction should only be undertaken with great care after securing the necessary permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers,” said Kellogg. “If you work in wetlands, you must obey the law or you will face fines.”
July 28, 2008
Property Owner and Contractor Ordered To Restore Filled Wetland
The owner of a 590-acre parcel of land located off of Lane Road in Barre, Massachusetts and his contractor have been ordered by EPA to restore 2 acres of wetlands which they dredged and filled without a permit in violation of the federal Clean Water Act. The owner of the property, Joseph Duhamel, and his contractor, John Amidio, illegally discharged dredged and filled materials into the wetlands at the site in 2004. Approximately 2 acres of wetlands were cleared, grubbed, and excavated; and sand and gravel was removed for the purposes of extracting sand and gravel material for Mr. Amidio's use, and the creation of a private pond for Mr. Duhamel's use.
Under the order, Mr. Duhamel and Mr. Amidio will be required to restore an area of altered wet meadow/shrub wetlands, and to restore another portion of the altered area to a terraced pond with surrounding wet meadow and shrub wetlands. These actions will help to restore the wetland functions that were previously served by the wetlands before they were altered. The 2 acres of wetlands that were filled and altered by Mr. Duhamel and Mr. Amidio were part of a larger wetland complex that provided flood storage, wildlife habitat, nutrient removal and transport and sediment trapping functions.
"Protecting wetlands and waters is a critical piece of protecting New England's ecosystems," said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator for EPA's New England Office. "Wetlands can act as a natural sponge to store waters during flood events, such as the ones experienced this summer in New England, and help to prevent pollutants from reaching our waterways."
Wetlands also provide large volumes of food that attract many animal species. These animals use wetlands for part of or all of their life-cycle. Dead plant leaves and stems break down in the water to form organic material which feeds many small aquatic insects and small fish that are food for larger predatory fish, reptiles, amphibians, birds, and mammals.
EPA coordinated with the Corps of Engineers, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, and the Barre, Massachusetts Conservation Commission to resolve this case. Mr. Duhamel and Mr. Amidio have both been cooperative in agreeing to conduct the restoration.
July 15, 2008
Landscaping Business Fined $12,300 After Misused Pesticides Reach Northern California Waterway
EPA has fined a Houston-based landscaping service company $12,300 for causing two pesticides to enter a tributary of the Klamath River after employees failed to follow pesticide label instructions -- violations of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act and the Clean Water Act. In April 2007, Trees, Inc. sprayed pesticides Direx 4L and Garlon 4 in a pool of water abutting Junior Creek, which feeds into the Klamath River on the Resighini Rancheria tribal lands in Northern California. Both pesticide labels prohibit applicators from applying the products directly to water or to areas where surface water is present.
“Klamath River watershed, from the Oregon border to the Pacific Ocean, supports several native fish species, including coho and steelhead salmon,” said Alexis Strauss, director of the Water Division for the Pacific Southwest region. “The EPA is committed to working with the tribe and California to enforce federal laws to protect these valued resources.”
The Resighini Rancheria notified the EPA of the violations, who then investigated the company’s pesticide application. The tribe provided the EPA with water sampling and testing results, which later showed both pesticides had entered Junior Creek.
Pesticides that are registered for use in the United States must include labeling that provides directions for use and other information necessary to protect human health and the environment. FIFRA requires that pesticide applicators comply with labeling directions during commercial pesticide applications to protect workers, the surrounding community and the environment
The CWA requires companies that discharge into waterways to obtain a pollutant discharge permit, which contain limits on discharges, monitoring and reporting requirements, and other provisions to ensure that water quality and human health are protected. By not following label directions and allowing the pesticides to reach the stream, Trees, Inc. also violated the CWA in lacking a permit to discharge.
June 17, 2008
Owners of Maine Vacation Parcel Face EPA Fine for Filling Wetland
Robert and Gayle Greenhill, owners of more than 3,200 acres of land on the western shore of Moosehead Lake, face a possible EPA fine of up to $157,500 for filling 1.5 acres of freshwater wetlands on their property. The filling of wetlands, which occurred during the expansion of an existing private airstrip and the development of a rock quarry, is a violation of the federal Clean Water Act and other federal requirements designed to protect wetlands. This is the second violation of wetlands protections in the federal Clean Water Act by the Greenhills. In 1997, the Greenhills constructed a trout pond on the property, altering approximately 0.4 of an acre without first seeking a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers, as required by the federal Clean Water Act. The Greenhills also did not apply for the necessary permit for the current violation
Prior to the most recent work, which took place between mid-2001 and 2005, the disturbed site consisted of a mosaic of evergreen and deciduous forest which contained freshwater wetlands. The projects that disturbed freshwater wetlands included a 985 foot extension on the western end of an existing runway, and the development of a rock quarry off the eastern end of the existing runway. These activities resulted in the clearing, grubbing, grading, and filling of several segments of forested wetlands – totaling 1.5 acres – on the site.
"Wetlands are incredibly productive and important ecological areas," said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. "The permit application process ensures that the impacts of development on wetlands are avoided or minimized, and that unavoidable impacts are compensated for. All landowners – whether real estate developers or the owners of a vacation retreat – are required to follow appropriate steps before altering wetlands, to ensure that these valuable areas are protected."
Undisturbed wetlands provide many environmental benefits, including wildlife habitat, groundwater discharge and recharge areas, sediment and toxin removal and flood water storage. The wetlands filled were part of larger forested complexes and directly abutted two unnamed tributaries which flow to Moosehead Lake.
Under a related Administrative Order issued by in January 2006, the Greenhills are required to restore approximately one acre of the filled wetlands, and to conduct compensatory mitigation by creating wetlands at another half acre. The restoration and mitigation work is ongoing.
May 15, 2008
Massachusetts Race Course Ordered To Reduce Bacterial Waste in Stormwater
EPA has ordered the Suffolk Downs horse racing track of East Boston to take immediate action to reduce pollutants being discharged to Sales Creek, a tributary to Boston Harbor. Suffolk Downs is violating the federal Clean Water Act due to horse manure, urine, bedding material, and stable wash water that are entering the waterways through stormwater runoff.
The action is specifically an Administrative Order that EPA has issued to the Sterling Suffolk Racecourse, LLC, requiring it to immediately make all practicable efforts to cease discharging pollutants to its storm drain system and Sales Creek. The EPA order requires Suffolk to routinely inspect its facility for discharges to Sales Creek and the adjacent wetland and to collect a limited number of dry- and wet-weather samples from its outfalls.
The EPA order also requires Suffolk to submit an application for the appropriate discharge permit from EPA. Suffolk is required to develop and submit a plan for interim measures to eliminate or reduce to the maximum extent possible the discharge of pollutants until the required permit – a "National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System" (NPDES) permit for a Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation – is issued to the facility.
"It’s very important that all citizens and organizations understand and comply with environmental laws, which are designed to protect the health of people and the environment," said Robert Varney, regional administrator of EPA’s New England Office. "EPA and our partners have invested a lot of time and effort in improving water quality in the Boston area, in the Charles River, in Boston Harbor and in the Mystic River. This action reflects our commitment to a clean and healthy environment."
In response to an information request and on-site inspections by EPA dating back to 2006, EPA has determined that more than 500 horses have been stabled at the facility for more than 45 days per year. Suffolk also reported that the facility discharges to Sales Creek and an adjacent wetland through several outfalls and two drainage swales. Consequently, Suffolk Downs is a Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation ("CAFO") and needs an NPDES permit for any discharges to waters of the United States, such as Sales Creek.
EPA inspections have revealed that horse and stable wash water have been discharged repeatedly to the facility’s storm drain system during dry-weather. EPA inspectors observed storm water contaminated with manure wastes and highly turbid, brown runoff being discharged from the facility to Sales Creek. Sampling conducted at various outfalls discharging from Suffolk Downs indicates elevated ammonia, surfactant, suspended solids, biological oxygen demand, and bacterial concentrations being discharged to Sales Creek in both dry- and wet-weather.
April 28, 2008
EPA Reaches $40,000 Settlement With Idaho Property Owner and Contractor for Wetlands Violations
Robin S. Behrens, Charles E. Kramer and C.E. Kramer and Contracting, Inc., of Bonner County, Idaho have reached a $40,000 settlement with EPA for alleged violations of the Clean Water Act. The violations involved filling wetlands on Robin Behrens' property near Lake Pend Oreille without a permit. According to EPA, in fall 2005, the property owner and contractor discharged fill material into a half-acre of wetlands located on Robin S. Behrens’ property. The parcel is adjacent to Lake Pend Oreille near Ponderay, Idaho. The illegal action was reversed in May, 2006, when the property owner and contractor repaired the damage and restored the site under the direction of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
According to Jim Werntz, EPA’s Idaho Operations Director, wetlands provide important wildlife habitat, prevent flooding and provide other community benefits.
“Protecting Idaho’s shrinking wetlands is a top priority for EPA, especially around Lake Pend Oreille," said Werntz. "Construction in a wetland should be avoided if at all possible, but if it’s unavoidable, great care must be taken and all proper permitting secured before any work starts.”
April 10, 2008
Seafood Processor Fined Over $54,000 for Clean Water Act Violations
Leader Creek Fisheries, LLC (Leader Creek), an Alaskan seafood processor located in Naknek has agreed to pay a $54,061 penalty to settle alleged federal Clean Water Act violations. Based on an inspection of Leader Creek on June 24, 2003 and a follow-up inspection on July 7, 2006, EPA and the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC) found that Leader Creek was not in compliance with its National Pollutant Discharge elimination System (NPDES) permit.
Leader Creek’s grinder broke in early July 2006. During that time, Leader Creek had the following NPDES violations:
· Failed to grind its seafood waste to ½" or smaller before discharging;
· Failed to have a backup grinder or spare parts; and
· Failed to report the broken grinder.
EPA also alleged that Leader Creek:
· Failed to submit an annual report;
· Failed to perform daily inspections of its operations and the surface and shoreline to ensure that the facility was operating correctly; and
· Exceeded allowable discharge amounts.
According to Kim Ogle, NPDES Compliance Manager, it is extremely important for seafood processors like Leader Creek to continuously monitor their facility operations. "Processors need to make sure that they have the necessary spare parts on hand to fix problems with their pollution control equipment," said EPA’s Ogle. "Such proactive measures protect the environment and cost processors less in the long run because they will not have to choose between suspending operations and processing out of compliance with their permit."
The NPDES permit program, a key part of the federal Clean Water Act, controls water pollution by regulating sources that discharge pollutants to waters in the United States.
April 7, 2008
Dairy Facility To Pay for Alleged Violations Related to Animal Waste
Bayside Dairy, LLC has agreed to pay an $8,000 penalty to settle alleged Clean Water Act violations. According to EPA, the violations occurred at the Bayside Dairy’s Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation facility, located in Mt. Vernon, Washington. Based on an inspection of the Bayside Dairy operation in February 2007, EPA inspectors found animal wastes leaking from the barns into a neighboring drainage ditch. The ditch drains to the Skagit River, which provides spawning habitat for salmon and is the largest watershed of the Puget Sound. This discharge was not authorized by a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit.
"It is crucial that manure from these operations is properly managed and kept out of our rivers and streams," said Mike Bussell, EPA Director, Office of Compliance & Enforcement in Seattle. "This type of water pollution contributes to shell fish contamination and hurts ongoing efforts to clean up Puget Sound."
This was Bayside Dairy’s first violation of the Clean Water Act. The company immediately corrected the discharge problem after it was discovered.
Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations continue to be a leading source of water quality impairment in the United States. Consolidation trends in the livestock industry have resulted in larger-sized operations that generate about 500 million tons of manure annually. The NPDES permit program, established under the federal Clean Water Act, controls water pollution by regulating sources that discharge pollutants to waters in the United States.
February 26, 2008
Depot Settles Storm Water Violations
Home Depot has agreed to pay a $1.3 million penalty and implement a nationwide compliance program to resolve alleged violations of the Clean Water Act, the Justice Department and Environmental Protection Agency announced. The settlement resolves alleged violations that were discovered at more than 30 construction sites in 28 states where new Home Depot stores were being built. The settlement, joined by the state of Colorado, requires that Home Depot implement a comprehensive, corporate-wide program to prevent storm water pollution at each new store it builds nationwide. Home Depot must develop improved pollution prevention plans for each site, increase site inspections and promptly correct any problems at its sites. The company must properly train its construction managers, as well as contractors and their personnel on the federal storm water requirements. Home Depot must also implement a management and internal reporting system to improve oversight of on-the-ground operations and appoint a high-level company official to oversee compliance at all company construction sites.
"EPA requires construction sites to take simple, basic steps to prevent storm water pollution," said Granta Y. Nakayama, assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. "We expect a large corporation like Home Depot to comply with the law and protect the waters in the communities it serves."
"Storm water that runs off of large construction sites can carry sediment, debris, and other pollutants into surrounding waterways," said Ronald J. Tenpas, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division. "This settlement is an important step in protecting the environment around Home Depot's future construction locations."
The government complaint alleged a pattern of violations that EPA discovered through state and federal inspections of construction sites and by reviewing documentation submitted by the company. The alleged violations include not obtaining permits until after construction had begun or failing to obtain the required permits at all. At the sites that had permits, EPA found violations of permit requirements that prevent pollution, such as silt and debris, from getting into storm water runoff. Violations included the failure to maintain adequate plans to prevent storm water pollution, failure to properly place and install fences around project areas to prevent silt from getting into storm water runoff, and failure to install controls at storm drains to prevent soil and sediments from reaching nearby waterways. The Clean Water Act requires that construction sites have controls in place to prevent pollution from being discharged with storm water into nearby waterways. Each site must have a storm water pollution prevention plan that sets guidelines and best management practices that the company will follow to prevent runoff from being contaminated by pollutants. EPA also requires that all construction projects larger than one acre obtain a federal permit.
Improving compliance at construction sites is one of EPA's national enforcement priorities. Construction projects have a high potential for environmental harm because they cover large areas of land and have had a history of noncompliance with environmental regulations. Without onsite controls, runoff from construction sites can flow directly to the nearest waterway and can cause beach closings, swimming and fishing restrictions, and habitat degradation. As storm water flows over construction sites, it can pick up pollutants, including sediment, used oil, pesticides, solvents and other debris. Polluted runoff can harm or kill fish and wildlife and can affect drinking water quality. The settlement is the latest in a series of enforcement actions to address storm water violations from construction sites around the country. A similar consent decree was reached with Wal-Mart in 2005 under which Wal-Mart established a comprehensive storm water compliance plan and paid a fine of more than $3 million.
January 28, 2008
Takes Enforcement Action To Protect Streams in Missouri
EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, and the Missouri Department of Conservation conducted a joint investigation of an illegal discharge of pollutants in Hermondale, Mo., leading to criminal charges against James Raulerson and James Raulerson Farms for violating the Clean Water Act. The investigation began October 2007, when an anonymous call was received by the Missouri Department of Conservation stating that a tanker truck was observed backed up and discharging its contents into Belle Fountain Ditch in Hermondale, Mo. Upon arrival, state and federal emergency responders found that an undetermined amount of decomposing glycerin that was generated from Natural Biodiesel Plant LLC was released into the Belle Fountain Ditch. Approximately 100,000 fish and other aquatic life were killed.
A federal indictment, filed January 9, 2008, alleges that James Raulerson and James Raulerson Farms knowingly discharged or caused to be discharged pollutants, namely glycerin, methanol and oil into the Belle Fountain Ditch, a water of the United States. EPA Region 7 Administrator John B. Askew said, "EPA supports the growth of the renewable fuels industry, however, workers need to be environmentally responsible. EPA will take whatever steps are needed to ensure compliance with the Clean Water Act." EPA hopes these actions will result in greater compliance and improved water quality by sending a clear message about the importance of protecting our nation's waters. The mission of EPA is to protect human health and the environment.
January 9, 2008
Orders Restoration of Damaged Colorado Creek and Wetlands
EPA has ordered Kenneth L. Schell and Twin Peaks Excavating, Inc. of Lafayette, Colo. to restore a section of Lafayette’s Rock Creek and adjacent wetlands that they damaged in violation of the Clean Water Act. Acting without a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permit, Schell and Twin Peaks excavated a new stream channel in Rock Creek, filled adjacent wetlands with sidecast materials and then filled approximately 150 feet of the original channel during the time period of March-April 2007.
The violations occurred on the City of Lafayette’s open space property without the City’s permission or knowledge. The Federal Clean Water Act prohibits discharges of dredged or fill material unless authorized by a Corps permit. EPA order requires Schell and Twin Peaks to remove all unauthorized material placed into the creek and to restore the creek and wetlands to pre-impact conditions. Michael Risner, EPA Region 8 Legal Enforcement Director, said, “EPA is taking this action to protect Colorado rivers, wetlands and lakes and to provide deterrence against future violations of federal laws designed to protect valuable water resources.”
Rock Creek and its adjacent wetlands provide numerous functions and values, including aquatic and wildlife habitat, flood attenuation, groundwater recharge, recreation and aesthetics. Placing dredged or fill material in creeks, streams, rivers, or wetlands can have adverse impacts on fish and wildlife habitat and their food sources, such as plants or insects. A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ permit is required before performing any work that results in discharges of dredged or fill material into waters of the United States, which include lakes, rivers, streams and wetlands.