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EPA orders restoration of damaged Rock Creek, wetlands

Release Date: 01/09/2008
Contact Information: Diane Sipe, 303-312-6391, sipe.diane@epa.gov Thomas Sitz, 303-312-6918, sitz.thomas@epa.gov

Excavating firm destroyed original creek channel, filled wetlands


    (Denver, Colo., Jan. 9, 2008) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has ordered Kenneth L. Schell and Twin Peaks Excavating, Inc. of Lafayette, Colo. to restore a section of Lafayette’s Rock Creek and adjacent wetlands that they damaged in violation of the Clean Water Act.

    Acting without a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permit, Schell and Twin Peaks excavated a new stream channel in Rock Creek, filled adjacent wetlands with sidecast materials and then filled approximately 150 feet of the original channel during the time period of March-April 2007.

    The violations occurred on the City of Lafayette’s open space property without the City’s permission or knowledge. The Federal Clean Water Act prohibits discharges of dredged or fill material unless authorized by a Corps permit.

    The EPA order requires Schell and Twin Peaks to remove all unauthorized material placed into the creek and to restore the creek and wetlands to pre-impact conditions.
      Michael Risner, EPA Region 8 Legal Enforcement Director, said, “EPA is taking this action to protect Colorado rivers, wetlands and lakes and to provide deterrence against future violations of federal laws designed to protect valuable water resources.”

      Rock Creek and its adjacent wetlands provide numerous functions and values, including aquatic and wildlife habitat, flood attenuation, groundwater recharge, recreation and aesthetics. Placing dredged or fill material in creeks, streams, rivers, or wetlands can have adverse impacts on fish and wildlife habitat and their food sources, such as plants or insects.

      A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ permit is required before performing any work that results in discharges of dredged or fill material into waters of the United States, which include lakes, rivers, streams and wetlands.

      Any person planning to do work in such waters needs to contact the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Denver Regulatory Office, 9307 South Wadsworth Ave., Littleton, CO 80128-6901, telephone: 303-979-4120.

      For more information, go to the EPA web page: http://www.epa.gov/compliance/civil/cwa/index.html

      Help EPA protect our nation's land, air and water by reporting violations: http://www.epa.gov/tips/