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Clark County contractor penalized for discharging sediment into creek, wetlands

OLYMPIA – 

A Clark County contractor has been given a $131,000 penalty after inspectors from the Washington State Department of Ecology found sediment and stormwater running off a construction site into nearby wetlands and Packard Creek. Rotschy Inc. is developing a 319 lot residential subdivision in Ridgefield, Clark County. Ecology inspectors cited Rotschy Inc. for nine water quality and permit violations between October 2021 and January 2022.

Ecology inspectors first witnessed permit violations during inspections in October and November 2021. Sediment and turbid construction stormwater was released into wetlands and Packard Creek from adjacent construction areas. Rotschy Inc. was also directing construction stormwater through a pipe into nearby wetlands, which entered Packard Creek. The company failed to adequately stabilize the construction site, leading to erosion that released muddy construction stormwater offsite.

In December 2021, inspectors found additional erosion impacts, as well as stormwater being pumped from a stormwater pond into Packard Creek. Ecology repeatedly offered technical assistance to Rotschy Inc. over the course of three months, but the violations continued. The company also did not follow best management practices, including phasing their construction to prevent erosion and uncontrolled discharges to waters, among other violations.

Stormwater runoff from construction sites can carry muddy water, debris, and chemicals into local waterways, which is why contractors like Rotschy Inc. are required to follow the terms of a statewide Construction Stormwater General Permit. Once released, these sediments, chemicals, and debris can harm aquatic life and reduce water quality.

The penalty may be appealed to the Pollution Control Hearings Board within 30 days.