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The U.S. EPA has issued an administrative order against Menards, Inc., of Eau Claire, Wis., for damaging a stream in Sioux Falls, S.D. EPA’s order cites discharges of dredged and fill material to nearly 1,400 linear ft of stream flowing through Menards’ property at 110 N. Highline Ave. in Sioux Falls. The stream is an unnamed tributary of the Big Sioux River.
EPA Assistant Regional Administrator Carol Rushin said, “EPA takes this action to prevent the pollution of the wetlands, lakes and streams of South Dakota and to provide deterrence against future violations of federal laws designed to protect valuable water resources.”
Aerial photography indicates the unauthorized discharge began prior to August 2003. An inspection conducted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers confirmed that a discharge of fill occurred into an unnamed tributary of the Big Sioux River during construction of a storm water management system and site-grading for the new Menards store.
Specifically, 1,350 ft of the stream were filled and replaced within a 66-in. storm sewer pipe, which was buried. A parking lot was then built over the top of it. An additional 40 ft of the stream was damaged by fill to construct a storm water control structure on the downstream end of the 66-in. storm sewer.
The project was completed in the winter or spring of 2004, and the Menards store is currently open for business. Menards is the third-largest home improvement chain in the U.S., operating approximately 200 retail stores and employing approximately 35,000 people in the Upper Midwest.
The stream in this area provides important functions including aquatic habitat; an urban wildlife corridor for deer, pheasants, ducks and other wildlife; and aesthetics. The tributary may also provide habitat for the endangered topeka shiner (notropis topeka).
A Corps permit is required before performing any work that results in discharges of dredged or fill material into waters of the U.S., which includes lakes, rivers, streams and certain wetlands. Property owners, contractors or developers planning to do any work in such waters should always contact the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ regulatory office in Pierre, S.D., at 605.224.8531 before they begin work to determine if they need a permit.