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Department of Ecology News Release - June 27, 2014
PORT LUDLOW – Mason Quarry faces a $20,000 penalty from the Washington Department of Ecology for illegally discharging surface water at its Port Ludlow site known as Shine Quarry, which impacted nearby wetlands, properties and roads.
Numerous inspections found muddy water being discharged without the proper permit or any monitoring. Runoff, erosion and sediment from the facility affected adjacent properties, creeks and nearby roads, including State Route 104.
During one inspection, muddy water was flowing from the entrance of the quarry, along a haul road, and into a ditch that flows into Shine Creek beside State Route 104. Another found that mud and dirt from the quarry had affected a nearby property, including wetlands on that property.
Companies are required to have sand and gravel permits to control discharge of pollutants. Water discharges that are not properly controlled harm water quality in streams and creeks as well as important habitat in wetlands and other areas. Habitat loss from runoff is one of the primary obstacles to salmon recovery.
The permits also control discharge of muddy water, which can harm water quality in waterways and habitat in wetlands. In waterways, for example, muddy water causes the water temperature to rise as suspended particles absorb heat from sunlight, which in turn causes oxygen levels to fall. Photosynthesis also decreases with less light, resulting in even lower oxygen levels. Suspended solids in muddy water also can clog fish gills and harm the eggs of fish and aquatic insects.
After issuing numerous warnings beginning in April 2011, Ecology issued the fine and an order to Mason Quarry that requires the company to:
“We regularly offer technical support and guidance that helps businesses comply with laws designed to protect the environment as well as their neighbors,” said Rich Doenges, a manager in the Water Quality Program in Ecology’s Southwest Regional Office. “However, when that support does not translate into improved practices, Ecology will consider issuing penalties and orders to achieve compliance.”
Mason Quarry, based in Aberdeen, may appeal the penalty within 30 days to the Pollution Control Hearings Board.
Sandy Howard, communications, 360-407-6408, @ecologyWA
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