Environmental Protection

Idaho Contractor Failed to Get Wetlands Permit

Robin S. Behrens, Charles E. Kramer, and C.E. Kramer and Contracting, Inc., of Bonner County, Idaho, have reached a $40,000 settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for alleged violations of the Clean Water Act. The violations involved filling wetlands on Behrens' property near Lake Pend Oreille without a permit.

According to EPA, in fall 2005, the property owner and contractor discharged fill material into a half-acre of wetlands located on Behrens' property. The parcel is adjacent to Lake Pend Oreille near Ponderay, Idaho.

The illegal action was reversed in May 2006, when the property owner and contractor repaired the damage and restored the site under the direction of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

According to Jim Werntz, EPA's Idaho operations director, wetlands provide important wildlife habitat, prevent flooding, and provide other community benefits.

"Protecting Idaho's shrinking wetlands is a top priority for EPA, especially around Lake Pend Oreille," said Werntz. "Construction in a wetland should be avoided if at all possible, but if it's unavoidable, great care must be taken and all proper permitting secured before any work starts."

For more information, visit http://epa.gov/owow/wetlands.

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