Wis. developer settles environmental protection suit

Nick Rees Feb. 22, 2010, 12:49pm

Van Hollen

WAUKESHA, Wis. (Legal Newsline) - State claims against a developer over environmental protection laws violations at a Waukesha County development have been settled, Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen has announced.

The settlement with Richard D. Herr and Stoneridge Associates LP stems from alleged land disturbance activities at a Village of Dousman site.

Permits and best practice management practices are required for land disturbance activities at construction sites of one acre or more in Wisconsin. Construction sites adjacent to or near water resources also required the permits and practices to protect from pollution caused by erosion and storm water runoff.

Stoneridge Associates LP, the landowner and developer of the Dousman development site, was alleged to have undertaken land disturbance activities, including clearing and grading, excavating, dredging and filling, constructing an artificial pond and installing pipes that discharged through channels to School Section Lake at the site. All of the alleged disturbance activities resulted in a construction site that differed from approved plans.

As a result of these activities, the complaint alleged, Stoneridge Associates failed to follow their construction site sequence, constructed ponds and channels not authorized by approved plans, filled a navigable ditch and changed the flow of water through and from the site contrary to permitted plans, and failed to restore impaired Best Management Practices.

The suit also alleged that Stoneridge Associates LP constructed a lake, channels and ponds that were not authorized by the approved plans, failed to follow required corrective action or to stabilize the site and, without a permit, drained water to a navigable creek and constructed an artificial pond.

Stoneridge Associates LP was also alleged to have pumped water out of the lake while operating heavy equipment within it, causing the discharge of sediment laden water from the site to navigable waterways tributary to School Section Lake.

The alleged violations took place from 2006-2009.

Under the recently announced settlement, which provides for the dismissal of Richard Herr, Stoneridge Associates LP will pay $240,000 in forfeitures, assessments and costs. Additionally, Herr has personally guaranteed payment of a portion of the judgment.

"Wisconsin law requires that developers and landowners properly manage construction sites to protect state waters," Van Hollen said.

"The Department of Justice will continue to work with the DNR to ensure that Wisconsin's natural resources are protected through compliance with the law."

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