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Landowners and Developers Cited for Wetlands Destruction

Release Date: 5/8/2000
Contact Information: Bonnie Smith (215) 814-5543

Bonnie Smith, 215-814-5543

NORFOLK, Va. -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has cited
the owners and developers of 10 properties in the tidewater area of Virginia for unauthorized discharges affecting water quality and wetlands. The discharges are associated with ditching and draining wetlands and stormwater runoff violations under the Clean Water Act.

In the administrative orders filed today, EPA seeks compliance and restoration to reverse the environmental harm. These enforcement actions will protect water quality and wetlands in Virginia.

Federal law requires construction projects of five acres or more to obtain a permit to discharge pollutants in stormwater. These permits require control and treatment of stormwater runoff and of dredge and fill discharges.

"We have taken these actions under the U.S. Clean Water Act to prevent the loss of thousands of acres of wetlands, which would seriously damage the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem ," said Bradley Campbell, mid-Atlantic regional administrator.

"We look forward also to enjoying the protection of Virginia’s new law to
protect wetlands. This new state law, which will take effect on July 1, 2000, takes
a strong stand to stop wetlands destruction and supplements the Clean Water Act," Campbell explained.

In the 10 properties cited in today’s actions, from five acres to 45 acres of wetlands were disturbed. In another location the disturbance included 15 linear miles of wetlands. Virginia, which has lost half of its historical wetlands, can ill afford to lose more.

Wetlands are a critical habitat for waterfowl, amphibians, and hundreds of plant species. Wetlands serve vital ecological and economic functions including naturally filtering pollutants from the water supply, curbing flooding and controlling erosion.

Restoration is required at all 10 sites, and once that is complete, the environmental degradation will cease.

Location of Virginia properties cited for alleged violations

Chesapeake, Virginia:
1. Southern Pines tract
2. Lewis Farms/Amelia Venture tract
3. Emerald Woods/Gleming tract
4. Willow Lakes South site
5. TransAmerica Services, Inc. site north of Elbow Road
6. Bosher Farm Site located south of Stonegate Road
7. Mill Creek Harbor subdivision located on Millville Road between Cedar and Shipyard Roads

City of Chesapeake and Suffolk:
8. Smith Farms tract

Virginia Beach:
9. Lago Mar subdivision located at Courthouse Sandbridge Road

Newport News:
10. Denbigh located northeast of Jefferson Avenue