OR county, construction contractor, resolve CWA violations in Sandy River

Richard Phillips Marine and Clackamas County Water Environmental Services in Oregon reached an agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency to resolve Clean Water Act violations that occurred during repairs to the county's Hoodland Sewage Treatment Plant.

SEATTLE, WA, Jan. 8, 2015 -- Richard Phillips Marine, Inc., a contractor specializing in marine construction, and Clackamas County Water Environmental Services in Oregon, reached an agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency to resolve Clean Water Act violations that occurred during repairs to the county's Hoodland Sewage Treatment Plant, which discharges into the Sandy River. As part of the agreement, Richard Phillips will pay a $20,000 fine, and Clackamas County will pay a $10,000 fine.

In 2012, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (ACE) issued a permit authorizing Clackamas County to discharge up to 260 cubic yards of fill material to the Sandy River in a .01-acre area as part of a project to repair and relocate the treatment plant's sewage outfall pipes, which were damaged in a 2011 flood event. The Hoodland Sewage Treatment Plant serves approximately 4,000 residents and businesses in the community of Welches, Ore., located 45 miles east of Portland.

During the outfall repair, ACE and the Oregon Department of State Lands received calls reporting substantial work occurring in the middle of the Sandy River. An investigation found that the work to repair the outfall had resulted in the discharge of about 950 cubic yards of fill material -- well over what state and federal issued permits had authorized -- into a .05-acre area.

The Sandy River provides valuable habitat for fish listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), including Chinook and coho salmon and steelhead trout. The river is a focus of state, federal and non-profit work to restore habitat for native salmon and steelhead within the Columbia River Basin.

Clackamas County worked with ACE and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries to obtain appropriate permitting and ESA consultation after the fact. In addition, the county has agreed to complete a mitigation project that will restore important rearing habitat for federally protected juvenile salmon and steelhead in the Sandy River Basin.

See also:

"New Oregon streamflow assessment tool aids Clean Water Act compliance"

"World's largest municipal nutrient recovery facility opens in Oregon"

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