Georgia DOT fined by EPA for Interstate 20 sediment runoff

State office to pay $300,000 in fines

Monday, Dec. 12, 2011 4:01 PM
Last updated 9:22 PM
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One of Richmond County’s largest highway projects also generated one of the largest civil Clean Water Act penalties assessed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Southeast region office during the past fiscal year.

The Georgia Department of Transportation will pay $307,500 in civil fines and $24,000 in restoration costs for violations associated with the Walton Way and Interstate 20/Bobby Jones Expressway construction projects, according to an EPA enforcement activity summary released last week.

In all, the EPA’s Region IV office cited 16 entities throughout six Southeastern states for unauthorized discharge of sediment into streams and waterways. Such activities threaten water quality and damage natural ecosystems and habitat.

The Augusta case generated the largest such fine, according to the summary, which covered the fiscal year ending Sept. 30.

The federal penalties followed other enforcement actions by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division, which settled four cases from 2006 to 2009 in which the department agreed to pay $30,396 for buffer encroachments and related environmental violations; $176,000 for buffer encroachments and sediment washing into Crane Creek; $37,500 for improper erosion/pollution control measures that allowed sediment to enter a nearby creek; and $42,300 for stormwater and buffer encroachments, also along Crane Creek.

According to the EPA order, the waters impacted by the violations included — in addition to Crane Creek – Rae’s Creek, Rock Creek and the Augusta Canal.

Congress enacted the Clean Water Act in 1972 to protect the nation’s rivers, lakes and streams, as well as fragile and vital wetland habitats. Wetlands are recognized as important features in the landscape that serve to protect and improve water quality, provide fish and wildlife habitats, store floodwaters, and maintain surface water flow during dry periods, according to an EPA fact sheet.

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Little Lamb
46040
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Little Lamb 12/12/11 - 05:16 pm
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The head of the DOT does not

The head of the DOT does not sweat one bit about these fines. It's not his money, it's the taxpayers' money. Fines are supposed to hurt and make one think before doing the same misdeed again. But when one government agency fines another government agency, nothing changes.

dichotomy
33017
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dichotomy 12/12/11 - 05:22 pm
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One government agency, which

One government agency, which operates with your tax dollars, fining another government agency, which will pay them with your tax dollars. Does that mean we will get a rebate from the first government agency? The EPA is out of control and is a prime example of government gone wild. The play games with your tax dollars because they are having a peeing contest with each other.

robaroo
755
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robaroo 12/12/11 - 08:58 pm
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Human nature being what it

Human nature being what it is, people won't do the right thing unless there is money involved. I wish the DOT had done the job right the first time.

Will they do it right for their next project? It sounds like it is cheaper to pay the EPA fines than protect the water. Maybe they don't care because it isn't their money.

By the way, the EPA is doing exactly what it is supposed to do. It is a long way from "out of control and is a prime example of government gone wild".

burninater
9605
Points
burninater 12/12/11 - 11:19 pm
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0
Georgia DOT's been busy

Georgia DOT's been busy apparently. Here's another $1.5 MILLION in fines and $1.3 MILLION in cleanup costs for a different project entirely. A private contractor's (Wright Bros.) on the hook for these as well.

http://m.newschannel9.com/news/million-1007230-penalty-cwa.html

Love the Creator, not the Creation, eh? Who needs trout streams anyway? Maybe those trout should get off their lazy gills and get a job.

KSL
129901
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KSL 12/12/11 - 11:26 pm
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On the other hand, the EPA

On the other hand, the EPA can be unreasonable and they can lose their cases.

burninater
9605
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burninater 12/12/11 - 11:29 pm
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Very true KSL, the settlement

Very true KSL, the settlement I linked is pending court approval.

KSL
129901
Points
KSL 12/12/11 - 11:30 pm
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Talk about cheaper to pay the

Talk about cheaper to pay the fines, check with the City of Atlanta, which has been polluting the Chattahoochee River, which runs through my county, with raw sewage because it was cheaper than solving the problem. While you are at it, check out who runs the city of Atlanta.

KSL
129901
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KSL 12/12/11 - 11:32 pm
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Thanks, burn. My spouse is a

Thanks, burn. My spouse is a civil engineer. He's had dealings with locals, state, and fed's.

KSL
129901
Points
KSL 12/12/11 - 11:39 pm
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I have to say, the SC DOT

I have to say, the SC DOT seems to be smarter that the GA DOT. Those turn lanes with 2 way traffic? What's with that? I do have a problem with the abnormally shorty turn lanes that the SC DOT paints on the roads. If you follow them, you are jerking your car around???? Guess I've been married to an engineer too long.

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