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Taunton Development Corp. ordered to restore 6.5 acres of wetlands

Release Date: 10/22/2003
Contact Information: Peyton Fleming, 617-918-1008

BOSTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has ordered a development company in Taunton to restore 6.5 acres of wetlands it filled without a permit during late 2002 and early 2003 at an industrial park off of Stevens and Wren streets.

EPA New England ordered the Taunton Development Corporation (TDC) to begin restoration work by Oct. 31 and to complete the work by Dec. 31. TDC must seek a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for another 2.5 acres of wetlands filled by the corporation mainly for access roads through the site, or provide a restoration plan for those wetlands no later than Dec. 1.

The wetlands are part of a 244-acre parcel being developed by TDC. The development company agreed to restore the impacted wetlands, which empty into the Taunton River. An environmental consultant working on the TDC site reported that a total of nine acres of wetlands were impacted.

"Filling wetlands can have an impact on flooding, and has already reduced wildlife habitat in the area owned by TDC," said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA's New England Office. "We are pleased the corporation has agreed to restore the land to protect the natural resources of this area."

EPA's New England office inspected the site in the spring of 2003 after the case was referred to the agency by the U.S. Army Corps. After an inspection, EPA determined that nine acres of wetlands had been impacted. TDC had requested a permit from the Army Corps to fill .03 acres of wetlands in February 2003.

In addition to providing valuable wildlife habitat, wetlands help to protect the health and safety of people and their communities. Wetlands filter and clean water by trapping sediments and removing pollutants. Wetlands also provide buffers against floods as they store enormous amounts of flood water. In addition, wetlands store and slowly release water over time, helping to maintain water flow in streams, especially during dry periods.