Department of Ecology News Release - July 28, 2009

09-179

Ecology fines Woodinville construction project $62,000

BELLEVUE – The Department of Ecology (Ecology) has fined Wellington Hills Park, LLC $62,000 for ongoing and repeated water quality violations at the company's construction project near Woodinville.

Stormwater from the 14-acre project at 6525 240th Street SE flows into Snohomish County storm drains, which discharge to Little Bear Creek. The salmon-bearing stream has been the object of many community restoration and water-quality improvement projects. The creek flows to Puget Sound by way of the Sammamish River and Lake Washington.

Ecology's penalty cites Wellington Hills for 13 violations, including releases of muddy water, failure to employ practices to protect against such discharges, and failure to follow formal orders to correct ongoing violations. The project's owners paid Ecology $5,000 in 2002 and $8,000 in 2003 for penalties at the site. Two of the violations in the current penalty also occurred in the earlier cases.

“The problems with this project have continued on and off for years,” said Kelly Susewind, who manages Ecology's water quality program. “We've made the needed corrective steps known, informally at first and later through formal orders and notices. Wellington Hills must get this matter under control, and right away.”

The violations include:

Snohomish County also has taken actions to bring the project into compliance with local standards and ordinances.

Wellington Hills may seek a review by Ecology or file an appeal with the Washington State Pollution Control Hearings Board within 30 days.

Ecology's construction stormwater permit program supports the department's priorities to prevent and reduce toxic threats to public health and the environment and to protect and restore Puget Sound by 2020.

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Media Contacts: Larry Altose, Ecology media relations, 425-649-7009