Greer Industries, Inc., Deckers Creek Limestone Co., Pikewood, Inc. Clean Water Act Settlement
(PHILADELPHIA -January 10, 2017) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Justice announced today that the owners and operators of the Pikewood National Golf Club in Morgantown, WV, have settled alleged violations of the federal Clean Water Act related to the unpermitted filling of wetlands and waterways.
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Overview of Company
The proposed consent decree in this matter resolves a Clean Water Act (CWA) civil judicial action against Greer Industries, Inc., Deckers Creek Limestone Co., and Pikewood, Inc. (collectively, Defendants) for alleged violations involving the unauthorized discharge of dredged and fill material to waters of the United States. The alleged violations occurred during the construction of the Pikewood National Golf Club in Monongalia County, West Virginia. The State of West Virginia is a co-plaintiff in this action.
The Defendants allegedly discharged dredged and fill material into waters of the United States without authorization, in violation of CWA Sections 301 and 404. Specifically, the unauthorized activities occurred in Laurel Run and its unnamed tributaries, and included: six in-line stream impoundments, realignment and culverting of stream segments, cementing of streams and spillways, and impacts to seeps. These activities began in 2000 and were completed in the summer of 2007. The Defendants also deposited dredged and fill material into wetlands, in approximately July 2010. The Defendants did not, at any time, apply for a CWA Section 404 permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps). In all, the Defendants filled approximately 6,402 linear feet of streams and approximately 0.12 acres of wetlands.
Health and Environmental Effects
As a result of these alleged violations, the Defendants’ actions have dramatically reduced the biological, chemical, and physical functions that the impacted streams and wetlands had performed. Impounding, realigning, culverting, and cementing the streams, and filling the wetlands has destroyed valuable aquatic habitat and has reduced the streams’ and wetlands’ ability to cycle nutrients, export carbon, and reduce nitrogen. Headwaters, such as Laurel Run and its unnamed tributaries, and wetlands are also sources of fresh water, and changes to these waterbodies can negatively affect rivers and lakes downstream.
The Defendants must restore the impacted areas, to the extent practicable, to pre-disturbance conditions. For impacted areas that cannot be restored, and for any temporal loses, the Defendants must perform mitigation to compensate for the loss of permanent and temporal aquatic resources. This could be accomplished through the purchase of mitigation credits, a mitigation project, other permissible compensatory mitigation, or payment of an in-lieu-fee. Additionally, the Defendants must ensure that the restored areas will be stabilized and that native species will be used for replanting. Finally, the Defendants must incorporate quantitative performance measures and monitor the restoration site for five years. The Defendants must ensure that all reasonable steps are taken to prevent future disturbance of the restored areas by recording a deed restriction in the deed recording office for the county in which the site is located. If, at the end of five years, the Defendants have met the required performance measures, no further monitoring is required. However, if the Defendants have not secured a deed restriction permanently preserving the impacted areas, monitoring must continue for a total of ten years.
In CWA cases involving the unauthorized discharge of dredged and fill material, EPA measures pollution reduction based on the number of acres mitigated for wetlands or the number of linear feet mitigated for streams. The injunctive relief requirements of this settlement will mitigate the 6,402 linear feet of streams and 0.12 acres of wetlands impacts caused by the Defendants’ activities.
The Defendants will pay a civil penalty of $1,800,000 in two installments. Within 30 days of the effective date of the consent decree, the Defendants will pay $900,000 to the United States. The Defendants will pay the remaining $900,000 to the State of West Virginia within 365 days of the effective date of the consent decree.
The proposed settlement, lodged in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia, is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval. Information on submitting comments is available at the U.S. Department of Justice.
For More Information, Contact:
Jeffrey Speir, Attorney-Adviser
Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW (Mail Code 2243A)
Washington, DC 20460