Jan 02, 2009

Alaska Companies Agree to Pay for Wetlands Violations

Combined $30,600 settlement aims to deter future breaches of the CWA

Quality Asphalt Paving Inc. (QAP) of Anchorage, Alaska, and Kikiktagruk Inupiat Corp. (KIC) of Kotzebue, Alaska, have reached a combined $30,600 settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for alleged violations of the Clean Water Act (CWA).The violation involved placement of fill material into wetlands adjacent to Hotham Inlet without a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permit. QAP has agreed to pay a $19,125 penalty, and KIC has agreed to pay an $11,475 penalty.According to the EPA, in July 2006, fill material was discharged onto approximately 7 acres of wetlands during gravel mining activities. The site is located on Pipe Spit, approximately 8 miles northeast of Kotzebue. The parcel is owned by KIC, who was the material supplier for a construction contract that QAP was working under for the state of Alaska. QAP conducted work prior to issuance of a Corps permit to KIC and also conducted work beyond the area authorized in the permit.In August 2007, with EPA approval, QAP removed the unauthorized fill material, regraded and revegetated the site as required under the Corps’ cease and desist prder, issued in September 2006.According to Greg Kellogg, EPA’s Alaska operations deputy director, the wetlands of Alaska provide important habitat for fish and other wildlife, which supports the state's economy. “Construction activities in the wetlands of Alaska should be undertaken after careful planning and obtaining the necessary permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers,” said Kellogg. “If you conduct work in jurisdictional wetlands, you must obey the law or face fines.”Both QAP and KIC have received previous permits and were aware of the CWA requirements, and according to EPA records, QAP has been involved in previous alleged CWA violations. This penalty action will serve as a deterrent against future violations of the CWA by QAP, KIC and other land owners and businesses.