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Southeast Facilities Ordered to Comply with Clean Water Act; Costs of Restoration and Civil Penalties Total Nearly $1 Million

Release Date: 12/08/2011
Contact Information: Davina Marraccini, (404) 562-8293, marraccini.davina@epa.gov

(ATLANTA – Dec. 8, 2011) Over the past fiscal year (Oct. 1, 2010 to Sept. 30, 2011), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 4 has cited 16 entities throughout the Southeast for depositing dredged and/or fill material into waters of the United States in violation of Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (CWA). Such unauthorized discharges threaten water quality and damage habitats. As part of the settlements, the responsible parties in Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina and South Carolina will spend an estimated $672,000 on restoration and monitoring activities. Four entities in Florida and Georgia were additionally assessed a total of $320,500 in civil penalties.

"By taking these enforcement actions, we are sending a strong message about the importance of protecting wetlands and waterways” said Gwen Keyes Fleming, Regional Administrator. “By addressing the violations noted in our inspections, these entities will restore hundreds of acres of wetlands and thousands of linear feet of streams and creeks, in addition to protecting the quality of life for families across the Southeast.”

The settlements and associated penalties, if applicable, include:

Florida

    James Davis and Sean Davis, for violations during construction of a dam and impoundment on their property in Laurel Hill, Fl. (restoration and monitoring costs of $45,000, civil penalty of $4,400)

Georgia
    Yvonne Hays, for violations associated with the construction of ponds and ditching activities intended to drain wetlands of her property in Pavo, GA. (restoration and monitoring costs of $177,000, civil penalty $8,000)
    Georgia Department of Transportation, for unauthorized discharge of fill material into jurisdictional waters during the Walton Way and I- 20/I-520 Interchange road construction projects in Augusta, GA. (restoration and monitoring costs of $24,000, civil penalties totaling $307,500)
    Milton Blankinship, for violations associated with ditching activities intended to drain wetlands on his property in Jefferson, GA. (restoration and monitoring costs of $29,000)

Kentucky
    Hardin County Developers, for unauthorized discharge of fill material into jurisdictional waters during construction of the Cowley Crossing Subdivision in Radcliff, KY. (restoration and monitoring costs of $20,000)

Mississippi
    Morris Gray, for unauthorized discharge of fill material into jurisdictional waters associated with the disposal of excavated material from off-site construction areas into wetlands on his property in Flowood, MS. (restoration and monitoring costs of $61,000)
    Roundtree & Associates, for unauthorized discharge of fill material into wetlands during the preparation of an oil and gas drill site on their property in Ridgeland, MS. (restoration and monitoring costs of $27,000)
    C&H Developers & Properties, LLC, for unauthorized discharge of fill material into wetlands during pre-construction activities for a residential development in Pinola, MS. (restoration and monitoring costs of $35,000)
    FJT, LLC, for unauthorized discharge of fill material into wetlands during pre-construction activities for a residential development in Canton, MS. (restoration and monitoring costs of $23,000)
    Jackson County Recreation Department, for unauthorized discharge of fill material into wetlands during site preparation for the construction of recreational and parking facilities in Vancleave, MS. (restoration and monitoring costs of $46,000)

North Carolina
    Robert Exum, YDV, Inc. and Hood Creek, LLC, during construction of the Compass Pointe residential golf course community in Leland, NC. (restoration and monitoring costs of $53,000)
    Billy Ray, for unauthorized discharge of fill material into wetlands during deposition of dredged and/or fill material into forested wetlands and coastal marsh wetlands associated with land clearing in the City of Powell Point, NC. (restoration and monitoring costs of $22,000)

South Carolina
    Debbie Diefenthaler, for unauthorized discharge of fill material into jurisdictional wetlands and waters of the United States during site preparation for a pasture in Loris, SC. (restoration and monitoring costs $29,000)
    Ronnie Barnes, for unauthorized discharge of fill material into wetlands during construction of a residence in Sumter, SC. (restoration and monitoring costs of $27,000)
    Normandy Corporation, for unauthorized discharge of fill material into wetlands associated with ditch construction in Stephens Crossroad, SC. (restoration and monitoring costs of $32,000)

Congress enacted the CWA in 1972 to protect the nation’s rivers, lakes and stream, as well as some of the more fragile and vital wetland habitats. Wetlands are recognized as important features in the landscape that serve to protect and improve water quality, provide fish and wildlife habitats, store floodwaters, and maintain surface water flow during dry periods. The CWA requires anyone engaged in construction within or disposal to waters of the United States to obtain permits when altering or filling waterways. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issues permits to discharge dredged and/or fill material into waters of the U.S.

For more information about the CWA Section 404 wetland regulatory authorities, visit: http://www.epa.gov/owow/wetlands/pdf/reg_authority_pr.pdf

For more information about Wetlands protection work in the Southeast, visit:
http://www.epa.gov/region4/water/wetlands/index.html