(Seattle − July 24, 2015) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has reached an agreement with A2Z Enterprises, LLC, to resolve violations of the federal Clean Water Act. Through the settlement with EPA, A2Z Enterprises has agreed to pay a $14,000 penalty and restore wetlands on its property in Port Angeles, Washington, that were filled in conjunction with the construction of a sprint boat racetrack.

From July to September 2011, A2Z Enterprises used mechanized construction equipment to construct a sprint boat racetrack and a gravel road. The violation occurred when fill material was placed in wetlands which were outside of the project’s original boundaries without the required CWA Section 404 permit, resulting in the illegal placement of fill materials into adjacent wetlands. Fill materials were placed into approximately 1.31 acres of wetlands that connect to the Strait of Juan de Fuca through Dry Creek.

Section 404 of the CWA requires a permit before dredged or fill material may be discharged into waters of the United States. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issues permits under the Section 404 program.

“The wetland permit program helps to avoid, minimize and mitigate the impacts of development on the nation’s wetlands and waters,” said Michael Szerlog, Manager of the Aquatic Resources Unit for the EPA’s Pacific Northwest Office. “When someone does not go through the permitting program they run the risk of penalties and having to complete costly restoration activities.”

A2Z Enterprises is responsible for removing the fill and restoring the 1.31 acres of wetlands by September 30, 2015.

Wetland and stream ecosystems within the Puget Sound play a critical role in the health of the Pacific Northwest waterways by trapping floodwaters, recharging groundwater, removing pollution, and providing fish and wildlife habitat. Salmon depend on the clean waterways that wetlands help to buffer and protect.

By Zen Chi

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