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EPA Settles Lawsuit Against North Georgia Landowner for Violations of the Clean Water Act

Release Date: 04/03/2012
Contact Information: Dawn Harris Young, (404) 562-8421, harris-young.dawn@epa.gov

(ATLANTA – April 3, 2012) The Duvall Development Co., Inc., Duvall & Son Livestock, Inc. and the president of both companies, Jeffrey H. Duvall, will pay a $30,000 penalty and have purchased five acres of forested land that was donated to the Chattahoochee National Forest in order to resolve federal Clean Water Act (CWA) violations.

“This enforcement action sends a strong message about the importance of protecting headwater streams in the Southeast,” said EPA Region 4 Administrator Gwen Keyes Fleming. “These streams serve as habitat for critical fish and wildlife, control flooding, recharge groundwater, capture pollutants and cycle nutrients—helping provide the clean, safe water that is essential for the health of families and our communities.”

Between 2004 and 2005, the defendants illegally discharged fill material into waters of the United States by encasing or “piping” portions of four tributaries of Stekoa Creek that run across the Duvall Development Company’s property in Clayton, Ga. Piping streams can destroy valuable aquatic habitats and threaten water quality. The defendants conducted the work without having obtained a required CWA Section 404 permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The parties signed a Consent Agreement and Final Order that requires the defendants to pay a civil penalty of $30,000. In addition, the parties entered into a separate Consent Agreement under which Duvall Development Co., Inc. purchased five acres of forested land that it donated to the U.S. Forest Service. The Forest Service will incorporate the donated land into the Chattahoochee National Forest. The donated parcel includes approximately 450 feet of stream frontage along Cliff Creek, a high quality trout stream located in Rabun County, Ga.

For more information about the Clean Water Act Section 404 regulatory program, visit: http://www.epa.gov/owow/wetlands/pdf/reg_authority_pr.pdf

For more information about EPA’s work to protect wetlands in the Southeast, visit:
http://www.epa.gov/region4/water/wetlands/index.html