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Sumner, Washington landowners fined $18,000 for wetlands violations

Release Date: 08/18/2010
Contact Information: Krista Rave-Perkins, EPA Wetlands Program, (206) 553-6686, rave-perkins.krista@epa.gov Tony Brown, EPA Public Affairs, (206) 553-1203, brown.anthony@epa.gov

(Seattle – August 18, 2010) Michael and Stacey Ota have agreed to pay a $18,000 penalty for alleged violations of the Clean Water Act at their property at 3201 West Valley Highway in Sumner, Washington, according to an order from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

In 2005, the Otas placed fill material into four acres of wetlands without the required permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, according to the order. The Otas cleared the property for agricultural purposes. On July 29, 2009, EPA ordered the Otas to restore the wetlands and ditches impacted by these activities. The Otas have restored the site as required by the order and must continue monitoring it until 2019.

Michael Ota had previously filled the wetlands at this property without the appropriate permits. He voluntarily restored the site in 1996 with the assistance of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Wetlands are essential for the survival of fish and other aquatic life, according to Tom Eaton, Director of EPA’s Washington Operations Office.

“Landowners who plan to work in wetlands or other waters must obtain the right permits and follow the requirements to protect these valuable resources,” said Eaton. “Wetlands like this help maintain water temperature in fish spawning areas.”

Waters from the wetlands on the Otas property flow into Jovita Creek, which flows into the White River. The White River is a fish bearing stream, and is currently identified by the state as impaired for high water temperatures.

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

For more information about Wetlands protection work, visit:

http://water.epa.gov/type/wetlands/index.cfm
http://water.epa.gov/type/wetlands/functions.cfm
http://www.usace.army.mil/

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