A general contractor has been fined $33,000 by the state Department of Ecology for violating its construction stormwater permit, allowing muddy runoff to leave a transportation project along Interstate 205 and flow into Burnt Bridge Creek, a fish-bearing stream that already suffers from pollution.
Cascade Bridge LLC of Vancouver received the fine after numerous site visits and attempts by Ecology to provide the company with technical assistance to secure the site to prevent runoff and pollution problems.
The company was first notified that it was out of compliance with the permit in August 2015. Violations were documented in August, October and November. Muddy runoff got into Burnt Bridge Creek on December 3, 4 and 7 from a construction site between Mill Plain Boulevard and Northeast 18th Street.
Muddy runoff is an environmental problem because it degrades fish habitat and water quality. Burnt Bridge Creek is home to stocks of coho and Chinook salmon, as well as steelhead and cutthroat trout.
"Transportation projects are important for Washington. It's equally important that projects move forward with environmental protections in place," said Rich Doenges, Water Quality Program manager in Ecology's Southwest Regional Office.
In addition to the runoff problems, the contractor failed to stabilize stockpiles of soil to prevent erosion and did not properly contain hazardous materials, such as fuels, kept on site.
Cascade Bridge LLC, a contractor hired by the state Department of Transportation, is responsible to pay the fine, not the Department of Transportation.
Cascade Bridge LLC has 30 days to pay the penalty or file an appeal with the Pollution Control Hearings Board.