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Release Date: 06/21/1999
Contact Information: Peyton Fleming, EPA Press Office (617-918-1008)

BOSTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last week issued an administrative order to the Town of Lexington, requiring the town to restore a wetlands area that was inappropriately filled in and damaged by the town Department of Public Works earlier this year.

The restoration order stems from an incident last winter and spring when a DPW employee dredged and widened 500 feet along Kiln Brook - and then disposed the dredged material along several-hundred feet of adjacent wetlands - all without having the necessary local, state and federal permits. The work was undertaken to alleviate a flooding problem.

The EPA order - issued under the authority of the Clean Water Act - requires the town to restore the .22 acres of filled wetlands. The action does not require the town to restore the brook back to its original width because it would cause further sedimentation in the brook.

"Freshwater wetlands provide multiple benefits and EPA will act quickly and decisively to make sure they are protected as the Clean Water Act requires," said John P. DeVillars, EPA's New England Administrator. "The wetlands in this particular case are very valuable in terms of limiting flooding, purifying runoff water and supporting a diversity of wildlife, including muskrat, mink, beaver, falcons and great blue herons."

EPA and town officials have already held several meetings to discuss both the violation and the restoration work that will be done this summer. EPA and the town Conservation Commission are in agreement about the scope of restoration to be carried out by the DPW.

DeVillars praised the town, including the DPW, for their cooperation in resolving the issue.

All of the violations took place on town-owned land.