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EPA cites Bucklen Equipment for damages to the Cache la Poudre River in Greeley

Release Date: 12/01/2009
Contact Information: Monica Heimdal, 303 312-6359 Sheldon Muller, 303 312-6916

Unauthorized activities included removal of islands from river, placement of gravel in wetlands

(Denver, Colo. -- December 1, 2009) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has reached an agreement with Bucklen Equipment Company, Inc. to resolve alleged violations of the Clean Water Act in Weld County, Colorado. The alleged violations include unauthorized discharges of pollutants to the Cache la Poudre River and its adjacent wetlands within the City of Greeley. Under the consent agreement, the company will pay a penalty of $16,000 and will remove any remaining gravel piles from wetlands along the river.

“Bucklen Equipment's actions introduced a source of sediment pollution and altered the condition of the Poudre River and its nearby wetlands,” said Darcy O'Connor, Director of EPA's Water Enforcement program in Denver. “EPA will continue to pursue actions against those who violate federal laws that protect Colorado's waters.”

In August 2008, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) received information that Bucklen Equipment was conducting extensive excavation activities in the Cache la Poudre River, including the removal of islands and grading of the river's floodplain. Subsequent investigation by the Corps and EPA found that the company had deposited dredged and fill material in an area encompassing 1,400 feet of the river's length without authorization. The Corps and EPA identified areas that had been dredged and filled in both the river and adjacent wetlands.

Under the consent agreement, Bucklen Equipment will remove any remaining piles of fill in wetlands along the banks of the Cache la Poudre River. EPA will inspect the area next summer to determine if the area has properly recovered. If it appears that additional work such as re-contouring or planting vegetation is required, Bucklen Equipment may be directed to submit and implement a restoration plan.

The rivers, streams and wetlands along the Cache la Poudre River are important habitat for local and migratory birds and wildlife, water storage and retention, water quality enhancement, flood control and aesthetics. Sediment from construction activities is a major water quality issue and can have a negative impact on aquatic life.

Clean Water Act permits are required before performing any work that results in material being placed into rivers, lakes, streams and wetlands. Any person planning work affecting waters and wetlands should contact the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Office at 9307 South Wadsworth Ave., Littleton, CO, 80128-6901 or telephone 303-979-4120 to determine if they need a permit.

Information on permitting requirements may also be found online at: https://www.nwo.usace.army.mil/html/od-rsd/frame.html

For more information on the Clean Water Act, visit EPA's compliance web page: http://www.epa.gov/compliance/civil/cwa/index.html

For more information about the importance of wetlands in flood control and habitat conservation, visit: http://www.usace.army.mil/ or http://www.epa.gov/owow/wetlands/