Washington fines Portland contractor for water quality issue

(United States Forest Service: Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area (Twitter))

Washington state ecology officials fined a Portland contractor $135,000 for repeated water quality violations while working at Ridgefield’s Vista Ridge subdivision.

The fines were levied by the Washington Department of Ecology for violations that occurred from September 2021 to February 2022, the Columbian reported.

According to Ecology, the contractor, 1108 South Hillhurst Subdivision LLC, was fined for "repeatedly discharging polluted construction storm water into a tributary of Gee Creek. The company also failed to follow numerous best management practices required under its construction storm water general permit, despite being offered technical assistance on at least five separate occasions by Ecology staff."

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Ecology inspectors documented seven instances of polluted construction storm water flowing into a Gee Creek tributary. Other permit violations included failing to submit discharge monitoring reports, insufficient sediment controls and unstabilized soils, an ecology press release said.

Storm water runoff from construction sites can carry muddy water and debris into local waterways where sediments, chemicals and debris can harm aquatic life and reduce water quality.

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Gee Creek is a Columbia River tributary that runs through the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge and several Ridgefield neighborhoods.

The contractor has 30 days to pay the penalty or appeal it to the Pollution Control Hearings Board.