Tacoma, Wash. Company Fined $12,785 for Water Quality Violations

The Washington state Department of Ecology has fined Marine Floats of Tacoma $12,785 for water quality violations and ordered the company to correct them, officials announced on Oct. 18.

Marine Floats designs and builds docks, floats and boathouses. The company operates under a Washington state industrial stormwater general permit, which governs the release of stormwater. The permit requires companies to develop a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan that describes the steps the company will take to protect surface and groundwater quality.

During a June 2007 inspection, a company representative admitted to Ecology staff that Marine Floats has never developed or implemented a plan in the 13 years since it received permit coverage. The company also has ignored requirements in place since 2003 requiring companies to monitor their stormwater discharges and report them to Ecology quarterly. The company has been reminded of these requirements repeatedly, but has failed to comply.

During the same visit, Ecology found evidence that Marine Floats is operating a boatyard without the required permit. The inspector noted vessels being repaired or painted at the site and a freshly painted barge moored to a floating dock owned by Marine Floats. The company also had a raft of treated wood poles floating in the waterway.

"Permits like these exist to help businesses operate in a way that keeps pollution from harming surface and underground water in our state," said Ecology Water Quality manager Garin Schrieve. "Marine Floats is one of thousands of Washington businesses that depend on our state's beautiful waters. But by ignoring its responsibilities under the law, Marine Floats threatens to damage the very resource that sustains it."

Ecology also issued an order directing the company to develop a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan and put it into effect within 14 days. At the same time the company must list practices it will follow to prevent water pollution and must remove the treated wood from the water within seven days. And the company must begin the water quality monitoring and reporting required under its permit.

The order also directs Marine Floats to immediately stop its boatyard operations. To operate a boatyard, the company must apply to be covered under a separate permit.

The company has 30 days to pay the fine, ask for Ecology to reconsider the penalty and order or file an appeal with the state Pollution Control Hearings Board.

For more information about water quality permits om Washington state, visit www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wq/permits.

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