The Washington Department of Ecology has fined Hamilton Excavating LLC $136,000 for repeated water quality and Construction Stormwater General Permit condition violations during construction activities at the Highland Terrace Subdivision in La Center.
The Battle Ground contractor is being fined for discharging polluted construction stormwater into a tributary of the East Fork Lewis River. The company also failed to follow numerous best management practices required under its Construction Stormwater General Permit despite being offered technical assistance on at least nine separate occasions by Ecology and the city of La Center.
From November of 2020 to October of 2021, Ecology inspectors documented seven instances of polluted construction stormwater that found its way to a tributary of the East Fork Lewis River. Other ongoing permit violations included the non-submittal of Discharge Monitoring Reports, failure to notify Ecology of high sediment discharges, insufficient sediment controls, and destabilized soils and channels.
The East Fork Lewis River and its tributaries are home to Endangered Species Act-listed fish, including winter and summer steelhead, coho, chum, and fall chinook. Ecology, along with its public and private partners, have been working to improve water quality in the watershed through the East Fork Lewis River Partnership for Clean Water.
Stormwater runoff from construction sites can carry muddy water, debris, and chemicals into local waterways. Sediments, chemicals, and debris can harm aquatic life and reduce water quality. Ecology requires regulated construction sites like the Highland Terrace Subdivision to get coverage under the Construction Stormwater General Permit.
Hamilton Excavating LLC has 30 days to appeal the penalty to the Pollution Control Hearings Board.