EPA Orders Restoration of Left Hand Creek

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued a compliance order to Lawrence Germann for violations of the Clean Water Act in Longmont, Colo. According to a Dec. 15 press release, Germann allegedly violated the act by excavating and placing material in Left Hand Creek without a permit. The order requires Germann to correct the environmental damage resulting from these unauthorized activities. Left Hand Creek flows perennially and is a tributary to St. Vrain Creek.

EPA's order is based on actions that occurred during April and May of 2008, when Germann, or persons acting on his behalf, partially constructed a new channel and placed a 5- to 8-foot-wide swath of material into 300 feet of the existing channel of Left Hand Creek. Germann did not obtain a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers prior to performing this work.

"Left Hand Creek provides important functions including aquatic and wildlife habitat, flood attenuation, groundwater recharge, recreation, and aesthetics," said EPA's Enforcement Director in Denver, Mike Gaydosh. "EPA’s goals are to secure the restoration of this section of the creek and to deter future violations of laws that protect the integrity of Colorado's waters."

The EPA order requires Germann to remove all discharged material and restore the impacted areas to pre-impact conditions and grade. Prior to doing the work, Germann must submit a restoration plan that details how the removal and restoration will be accomplished. Respondents who fail to respond to EPA orders are subject to additional actions, including civil enforcement lawsuits filed by the U.S. Department of Justice in federal court.

Germann should have contacted the Corps to obtain a permit prior to commencing his activities. Permits are required before performing any work that results in material being excavated from or placed into rivers, lakes, streams, and certain wetlands.

For more information, visit http://www.epa.gov/compliance/civil/cwa/index.html