Company to pay $15,000 civil penalty
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 7 reached a proposed administrative settlement with Goodrum Farm CR314 LLC in Butler County, Mo., to resolve alleged violations of Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (CWA). As part of the settlement, the company has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $15,000.
According to EPA Region 7, during a July 16, 2014, inspection, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers inspectors found the company had placed dredged and fill material into forested wetlands in an effort to convert the wetlands to agricultural cropland. This resulted in the unauthorized impact of approximately 9.46 acres of wetlands adjacent to a designated “water of the U.S.," according to inspectors.
According to EPA Region 7, under a previously issued administrative compliance order to address CWA violations, Goodrum Farm CR314 LLC mitigated the impacted wetland acres by placing approximately 35 acres of the property into a conservation easement, which prevents further development, including future farming.
Under this proposed settlement, Goodrum Farm CR314 LLC will pay a $15,000 penalty for its alleged Section 404 CWA violations.
Unpermitted destruction of wetland areas can create numerous environmental impacts, including degradation of watershed health, habitat loss, impacts to stream channel configuration and decreased biological diversity. Wetland degradation also impedes a wetland’s abilities to absorb floodwaters and filter pollutants. Prior to conducting activities that may impact wetlands, streams or rivers, landowners should consult the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to determine if the planned activity is authorized under Section 404 of CWA.
CWA seeks to protect streams and wetlands that form the foundation of the nation’s water resources. Protecting streams and wetlands is also part of adapting to climate change impacts like drought, stronger storms and warmer temperatures.