KANSAS CITY, KS, Jan. 4, 2011 -- A private construction company hired by the Iowa Department of Transportation to work on a section of Interstate 35 in Clarke County, Iowa, has agreed to pay a $60,000 civil penalty to the United States for performing unpermitted fill activities that impacted a section of a nearby stream and three acres of adjacent wetlands.
Manatt's Inc., of Brooklyn, Iowa, did not have a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to perform fill work at the site in June or July of 2009, according to an administrative consent agreement filed by EPA Region 7 in Kansas City, Kan.
Manatt's approached the owner of private land adjacent to the I-35 construction project to seek permission to use material from the construction site to fill in approximately 1,000 linear feet of an unnamed tributary of White Breast Creek. Although the landowner agreed to the proposed activity, neither the landowner nor Manatt's obtained a permit from the Corps of Engineers to allow the work within the stream and wetlands, as required by the federal Clean Water Act.
Manatt's unauthorized fill activity was identified during an inspection by Corps' representatives on July 23, 2009.
EPA Region 7 issued an administrative compliance order to Manatt's on December 10, 2009, requiring the company to provide the Agency with a plan to restore or mitigate the impacted site. Since that time, Manatt's has been working with EPA and the Corps to develop a restoration and mitigation plan for the stream and wetlands.
Unauthorized dredge and fill activity degrades watershed health, results in habitat loss, impacts stream channel configuration, decreases biological diversity, and limits the movement of fish, other aquatic organisms and organic material. Placing fill material in a wetland decreases wildlife diversity and impacts a wetland's ability to absorb floodwaters and filter pollutants. Such activity can also deprive downstream landowners and the public from the use and enjoyment of public waters.