Alaska Property Owner, Contractor to Pay for Filling Wetlands

Quality Asphalt Paving, Inc. (QAP) of Anchorage, Alaska and Kikiktagruk Inupiat Corp. (KIC) of Kotzebue have reached a combined $30,600 settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for alleged violations of the Clean Water Act (CWA), according to a Dec. 30 press release.

The violation involved placement of fill material into wetlands adjacent to Hotham Inlet without a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) Permit. QAP has agreed to pay a $19,125 penalty, and KIC has agreed to pay an $11,475 penalty.

According to EPA, in July 2006, fill material was discharged onto approximately seven acres of wetlands during gravel mining activities. The site is located on Pipe Spit, approximately 8 miles northeast of Kotzebue. The parcel is owned by KIC, which was the material supplier for a construction contract that QAP was working under for the state of Alaska. QAP conducted work prior to issuance of a Corps Permit to KIC and also conducted work beyond the area authorized in the permit.

In August 2007 with EPA approval, QAP removed the unauthorized fill material, regraded, and revegetated the site as required under the Corps’ Cease and Desist Order issued in September 2006.

According to Greg Kellogg, EPA’s Alaska Operations deputy director, the wetlands of Alaska provide important habitat for fish and other wildlife, which supports the state's economy.

“Construction activities in the wetlands of Alaska should be undertaken after careful planning and obtaining the necessary permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers,” said EPA’s Kellogg. “If you conduct work in jurisdictional wetlands, you must obey the law or face fines.”

Both QAP and KIC have received previous permits and were aware of the CWA requirements and, according to EPA records, QAP has been involved in previous alleged CWA violations.