Department of Ecology News Release - June 17, 2021

Highway contractors fined for stormwater violations

Construction project released polluted runoff to Cle Elum River


Two roadwork contractors are facing $53,000 in fines for allowing polluted stormwater to enter the Cle Elum River during bridge repair work on Interstate 90 last year.

The Washington Department of Ecology is fining Max J. Kuney Company, Inc., of Spokane and subcontractor KLB Construction of Mukilteo for repeated violations at Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) land at Bull Frog Road last November and December near Cle Elum.

Kuney is being held responsible for discharging process water containing high pH concrete slurry on Nov. 3, 2020, and Dec. 23, 2020, to the Cle Elum River, and fined $10,000 for each day.

Kuney is also subject to a $13,000 penalty for failing to implement best management practices as required under the construction stormwater permit the company held at the 7-acre site, including where the freeway crosses the Cle Elum River

Both contractors are receiving fines of $10,000 each for discharging up to 2,000 gallons of muddy water to the Cle Elum River on Nov. 23, 2020. The discharge occurred when a containment pond was breached, overtopping and scouring away straw wattle protections, and taking muddy soil with it to the river.

A WSDOT official observed and reported the releases to Ecology.

“The Cle Elum River is important for sockeye salmon, which have been reintroduced to the watershed by the Yakama Nation,” said Vince McGowan, Ecology’s water quality program manager in Olympia. “This sort of pollution can threaten fish spawning and migration, and is a clear violation of the company’s Construction Stormwater Permit.”

Kuney and KLB have 30 days to pay the fines, or may appeal the penalties to the state Pollution Control Hearings Board. Water quality penalty payments to Ecology are placed into the state’s Coastal Protection Fund, which provides grants to public agencies and tribes for water quality restoration projects.

Contact information

Joye Redfield-Wilder
Communications Manager
Twitter: EcyCentral