EPA Settlements Restore Wetlands Across Southeast

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Over the past fiscal year (Oct. 1, 2012 to Sept. 30, 2013), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 4 has cited 23 entities throughout the Southeast for depositing dredged and/or fill material into wetlands or other 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, South Carolina and Tennessee will spend an estimated $1.7 million on restoration and monitoring activities. Seven entities were additionally assessed a total of $130,800 in civil penalties. The settlements and associated penalties, if applicable, include:

Florida

  • Florida Properties III, LLC, violations during construction of the Coconut Inlet development in Lee County (estimated cost of injunctive relief of $137,200).
  • Dr. Cory Gaiser, violations during road and pond construction in Jackson County (estimated cost of injunctive relief of $17,020).
  • Mr. James Johnson, violations during preparation property for commercial development in Collier County (estimated cost of injunctive relief of $28,002).
  • Northwest Florida Holdings, Inc., violations during the dredging of a manmade basin and St. Andrew Bay in Bay County (estimated cost of injunctive relief of $165,038).
  • Mr. Robert J. Chelico, violations during clearing and grading activities associated with construction of a residence in Escambia County (estimated cost of injunctive relief of $15,300).
  • Peace River Properties Investment, LLC, violations during construction of a residential development, in Charlotte County (estimated cost of injunctive relief of $28,496).

Georgia

  • Community Bank of Pickens County, violations during construction of a commercial development in Pickens County (estimated cost of injunctive relief of $162,570).
  • Millrock Farms, Inc., violations during the construction of ponds, roads and other water retention features in Laurens County (estimated cost of injunctive relief of $10,138).
  • Mr. Robert Lee, violations during construction of a borrow pit in Chatham County (estimated cost of injunctive relief of $13,246).
  • Camden USA, Inc. and Camden Development, Inc., violations during construction of stormwater runoff structures at the Camden Paces development in Fulton County.
  • Ray Flow and Rick Wagner, violations during construction of access roads in Tattnall County (civil penalty of $1500).
  • Mr. Milton Blankinship, violations associated with ditching activities intended to drain wetlands on his property in Jackson County (civil penalty of $10,500).

Kentucky

  • Montgomery Group, LLC, violations during the construction of the Skylar Landing Commercial Development in Mercer County (estimated cost of injunctive relief of $45,440).
  • Mr. Bill Brock, violations during the conversion of forested wetlands to agricultural use in Laurel County (estimated cost of injunctive relief of $31,786).
  • Hardin County Developers, violations during construction of the Cowley Crossing Subdivision in Hardin County (civil penalty of $30,000).

Mississippi

  • Hancock County Land, LLC, violations during site preparation for a development in Hancock County (estimated cost of injunctive relief of $881,555).
  • Mr. Horace Scott Slay, Sr., violations in Jackson County (civil penalty of $18,000 and estimated cost of injunctive relief of $11,800).
  • Jackson County Recreation Department, violations during site preparation for the construction of recreational and parking facilities in Jackson County (civil penalty of $27,350).

North Carolina

  • Southwood Developers, Inc., and CKC, LLC, violations during construction of the Windsor Park residential development in Brunswick County (civil penalty of $11,000 and estimated cost of injunctive relief of $43,069).

South Carolina

  • Mr. Lowell Landon, violations during construction of a residential development in Beaufort County.
  • Mr. William S. Livingston, III, violations during mechanized land clearing in preparation for forestry activities in Horry County (estimated cost of injunctive relief of $109,338).
  • Bass Waccamaw River Ranch, LLC, violations during construction of roads and food plots in Horry County (civil penalty of $37,500).

Tennessee

  • Mr. Randall Stutts, violations during the construction of an earthen dam and impoundment of an unnamed tributary to the Harpeth River in Cheatham County (estimated cost of injunctive relief of $33,180).

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 in the Southeast, visit: http://www.epa.gov/region4/water/wetlands/index.html  



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