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NHDOT and Contractors To Pay Penalty for Clean Water Violations Along Scenic Kancamagus Highway and Swift River

Release Date: 01/28/2003
Contact Information: Andrew Spejewski, EPA Press Office, 617-918-1014

BOSTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced that the NH Department of Transportation (DOT) and two contractors, Coleman & Son Inc. of Conway, NH and Maine Drilling & Blasting Inc. of Gardiner, Maine, have agreed to pay $114,500 in penalties for violations of the Clean Water Act during a ledge-blasting project along the Kancamagus Highway in Albany, NH.

The settlement stems from violations related to a ledge blasting project undertaken by DOT in 1998 along the Kancamagus (also known as Route 112). DOT, its contractor Alvin J. Coleman & Son Inc. (Coleman), and the blasting subcontractor, Maine Drilling & Blasting Inc. (Maine Drilling), participated in the ledge blasting that led to significant amounts of rock, sand and other debris being deposited in the Swift River, one of New Hampshire's most popular trout fishing water bodies. None of the project participants had obtained a federal permit for the actions affecting the river, as required by the Clean Water Act.

Following negotiations with EPA, DOT, Coleman, and Maine Drilling each agreed to pay civil penalties, including $48,500 by DOT, $39,000 by Coleman and $27,000 by Maine Drilling. The agreement is subject to a public comment period, ending February 15, 2003.

One of New Hampshire's most pristine rivers, the Swift River is hugely popular among the millions of tourists, campers, leaf peepers and fishermen who visit the White Mountain National Forest each year. Flowing 23 miles through the heart of the National Forest, the cold-water river and its tributaries are rich with small, wild native Brook Trout and stocked Rainbow Trout. The Swift is one of 13 rivers of statewide importance overseen by the NH Rivers Management and Protection Program, and has some of the highest water quality in the state.

Since the blasting, DOT has undertaken restoration of the river under the direction of the NH Department of Environmental Services.