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Harrison Heights Subdivision & Contractor Receive Storm Water Complaint & Proposed $99,000 Penalty

Release Date: 6/14/2004
Contact Information: Kim Ogle
(206) 553-0955

June 14, 2004

In February, 2003, EPA inspectors conducted a storm water inspection of the Harrison Heights subdivision development located near the town of Harrison, ID, on the southeastern side of Lake Coeur d'Alene. The inspection followed complaints EPA had received from both the state of Idaho and the Coeur d'Alene Tribe expressing environmental and permitting concerns about the project. As a result of the inspection, Harrison Heights, LLC, and their contractor, Iron Triangle, LLC, were named in an Administrative Complaint for alleged violations of the federal Clean Water Act. The Complaint includes a proposed penalty of $99,000.

Kim Ogle, EPA’s water quality enforcement manager, said managing storm water responsibly at construction sites should be a key part of every developer’s site plan.

“It’s no secret that storm water runoff – especially from construction sites – can harm water quality,” Ogle said. “The law requires that a permit be obtained and that a plan be written and followed to prevent soil, debris, and contaminated water from polluting our streams, lake and rivers. This kind of violation isn’t acceptable.”

According to the Complaint, both the Army Corps of Engineers (the Corps) and Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (IDEQ) had conducted inspections of the site in October 2002. During the inspections, they discovered that Harrison Heights’ contractor Iron Triangle had been filling in an unnamed, intermittent tributary in an attempt to widen an already existing culvert crossing from the site to Hwy. 97. The developer Harrison Heights had attempted to gain a permit exemption from the Corps for the culvert filling by claiming it was a silvicultural operation. The Corps denied the exemption after concluding the main purpose for removing logs from the site was for a subdivision development.

As a result of its October inspection, the Corps sent Harrison Heights a Notice of Violation (NOV) letter to cease operations until it obtained the proper permit. IDEQ also sent a letter informing Harrison Heights of its concerns about the company’s lack of sediment and erosion control measures and failure to apply for coverage under the construction general permit When EPA visited the site in February, the developer had still failed to apply for coverage under the permit and the site lacked a significant number of storm water best management practices to control storm water runoff from the site to waters of the United States.

Harrison Heights and Iron Triangle have 30 days to file an answer to the complaint and may request a formal settlement conference. Or, they can pay the proposed penalty.
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