Department of Ecology News Release - September 15, 2009

09-226

Bellingham construction project fined $36,000

BELLINGHAM – The Department of Ecology (Ecology) has fined Greenbriar Construction Corp. (Greenbriar) $36,000 for discharging muddy stormwater and for operating without a permit at a project in Bellingham.

The violations took place at the Bellingham company’s three-acre Emerald Cottages project at 1010 Telegraph Road. Ecology inspectors documented the muddy discharges four times from December 2008 through March 2009. Inspectors also directed Greenbriar to cover or stabilize bare soil that had been left exposed to rain, but the company’s measures in response were not enough to prevent further muddy releases.

Stormwater from the project flows to a tributary of Baker Creek, a salmon- and trout-bearing stream. Muddy water can foul the gills in fish and interfere with their ability to breathe.

Greenbriar worked on the project without obtaining coverage under the state’s construction stormwater general permit, required for all construction sites one acre or larger. The permit sets conditions for protecting exposed soil to prevent discharges of muddy water from a project. The company failed to obtain permit coverage after acquiring the project from another company, despite repeated requests from Ecology.

“We’re asking Greenbriar to do what developers and contractors do every day on hundreds of projects, large and small, around the state,” said Richard Grout, who manages Ecology’s Bellingham Field Office. “Protecting bare soil and following permit requirements – those are standard business and common expectations for all players. Greenbriar had every opportunity – and repeated assistance and warnings from Ecology – throughout last winter’s rainy season to prevent the violations.”

The company obtained permit coverage for the site in May.

Greenbriar may request a review of the case by Ecology or may appeal the penalty to the Washington State Pollution Control Hearings Board within 30 days.

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Media Contacts:
Larry Altose, Ecology media relations, 425-649-7009
Richard Grout, Ecology Bellingham Field Office, 360-715-5203