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Developer, contractor settle with EPA over wetlands damage

Release Date: 09/14/2006
Contact Information: Diane Sipe 303 312-6391, sipe.diane@epa.gov Michael Risner 303-312-6890, risner.michael@epa.gov

Includes $105,000 penalty plus creek, wetland restoration

Denver, Colo., Sept. 11, 2006 -- Pietraszek Enterprises, Inc. and Munson Excavating, Inc. of El Paso County, Colo., have agreed to pay a $105,000 civil penalty for illegally damaging Monument Creek and its adjacent wetlands in Colorado Springs.

In addition to the penalty, Pietraszek is required to correct the environmental damage resulting from the placement of unauthorized fill into wetlands and to restore the creek and wetlands to their pre-damaged condition.

Assistant Regional Administrator Carol Rushin said, “Colorado’s scarce waters and wetlands must be protected from all forms of pollution. Our goals are to deter future Clean Water Act violations by those in the regulated community and to ensure that those who violate the law do not benefit economically from their violations.”

Munson Excavating, Inc. was the contractor for Pietraszek that conducted the unauthorized activities, which occurred on Pietraszek’s property and adjacent properties owned by the City of Colorado Springs and Tudor Land Company, Inc. The site, at 7130 Commerce Center Drive, is the location of a new hotel. These activities were conducted without authorization by a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permit.

The illegal discharges to approximately one acre of Monument Creek and its adjacent wetlands occurred during late 2001 to April 2002, when Munson performed construction to stabilize the river bank and build temporary road crossings and other structures as part of the hotel construction. In addition to damaging the wetlands, the unauthorized activities impacted habitat of the Preble’s Meadow Jumping Mouse, a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.

EPA filed an administrative compliance order in September 2002 requiring Pietraszek to repair the environmental damage. Pietraszek’s Restoration and Mitigation Plan provides approximately one acre of mitigation for the wetland impacts and 12 acres of habitat restoration and mitigation.

The creeks, streams, rivers, and adjacent wetlands in this area are important as habitat for local and migratory birds and other wildlife, water storage and retention, and flood control. Impacts to these areas can lead to serious consequences such as increased flooding, impacts to rare species, and decline of water quality.

Developers and other land owners who plan to conduct earth moving activities near wetlands, rivers, streams, ponds, and other water bodies should contact their local office of the Corps of Engineers to determine if a permit is required for the activity. Additionally, contractors have a responsibility to ensure that work they are hired to do near such areas has been authorized by all applicable permits. The Pueblo office of the Corps can be reached at:

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Southern Colorado Regulatory Office
720 North Main Street, Room 300
Pueblo, Colorado 81003
Phone: (719) 543-9459
Fax: (719) 543-9475

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