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EPA Settles Wetlands Case in Newport News, Va.
Release Date: 1/25/2005
Contact Information: Bonnie Smith, 215-814-5543
Bonnie Smith, 215-814-5543
PHILADELPHIA – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has settled a Clean Water Act case against two companies over filling federally protected wetlands in Newport News, Va.
In an EPA consent agreement, J. Denbigh Associates, Inc. and Howard B. Hankins, Inc. have agreed to pay a $2,556 penalty and restore the 2.5 acres of affected wetlands at a property located off Jefferson Avenue, south of Industrial Park Drive, in Newport News, Va.
In addition, these parties have agreed to preserve an additional 4.1 acres of wetlands near Grafton Ponds, place deed restrictions protecting the remaining 25 acres of wetlands on the site, and buy six acres in a wetlands mitigation bank.
EPA cited J. Denbigh Associates, the property owner, and Howard B. Hankins, Inc., a land clearing contractor, for unlawfully disturbing 2.5 acres of wetlands through ditching and filling activities in 1999 and early 2000. The ditches were not stabilized, causing the erosion of sediment into Stoney Run, a tributary of the James River.
These parties did not have a required U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permit for the discharge of fill or dredged material into wetlands and waterways. The permit requirement is designed to minimize the destruction of these natural resources, which serve a number of critical environmental and economic functions -- including flood control, water filtration, and wildlife habitat.
EPA also cited these parties for violating a Clean Water Act requirement that owners or operators of construction sites obtain a storm water discharge permit, including a storm water pollution prevention plan. These plans are designed to reduce contaminated runoff, which may contain pollutants such as oil and grease, hazardous chemicals, and nutrients.
For more information about wetlands and permitting requirements visit https://www.epa.gov/owow/wetlands. Information about stormwater pollution prevention is at www.epa.gov/npdes/stormwater.
As part of the settlement, the parties neither admitted nor denied liability for the alleged violations.