Battle Ground developer fined $40,000 by DOE for failing to control 'muddy runoff'

from DOE website

OLYMPIA, WA - 6/20/02 - One of the developers of Park View Trails in Battle Ground has been fined $40,000 by the state Department of Ecology (Ecology) for repeatedly allowing muddy storm water to drain into sensitive wetlands and a stream at the headwaters of Mill Creek.

Muddy water is considered "pollution" because it clogs fishes' gills, covers spawning beds and harms other aquatic life.

Mill Creek is home to threatened steelhead trout and chum salmon. It flows into Salmon Creek, which has threatened chum and chinook salmon and steelhead trout. Also, Salmon Creek is on the state's list of polluted waters.

In addition to allowing the muddy runoff, the owner of Columbia Rim Construction, Mike DeFrees, was cited for conducting construction activity for four months without a stormwater permit and for failing to comply with the permit once it was obtained.

Ecology staff visited the site five times in January and February to provide technical assistance, but the owner demonstrated little progress to control the discharge of muddy construction storm water.

"This developer was not protecting the environment and was risking the health of an irreplaceable wetland and important aquatic habitat," said Megan White, manager of Ecology's water-quality program.

White said that most developers and contractors cooperate when asked to protect water quality and comply with their permits.

"We usually don't have to ask them three, four or five times," she said

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