Court rules for Wis. AG in dispute with construction company

Bryan Cohen Sep. 6, 2011, 3:15am

Van Hollen

MADISON, Wis. (Legal Newsline) - Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced on Tuesday that the Waukesha County circuit court had entered a judgment against a construction co. and its owner over alleged wetlands violations.

Berg Construction Inc. and owner Cheryl A. Berg allegedly began grading approximately six acres of land owned by Berg without first applying for a construction site erosion control and storm water discharge permit and without first putting in place best management practices to prevent discharges of sediment to waters of the state.

A permit application would have led to the identification and delineation of protected wetlands on the property.

According to the complaint, proper best management plans were not implemented and wetlands were not identified or delineated in or before 2007, when the Department of Natural Resources learned that construction had started. In addition, a detention basin at the site was allegedly not completed, which subsequently failed during a rain event and caused the discharge of an unknown amount of construction site sediment into the wetlands and the Mukwonago River. While some wetland restoration work was done by Berg Construction in accordance with a DNR-approved plan, this work ceased in 2009.

"The Department of Justice will continue to work with the DNR to protect Wisconsin's waters and make sure businesses that follow our environmental laws are not put at a competitive disadvantage," Van Hollen said.

As part of the judgment, the company and its owner are required to place $6,000 in escrow to complete necessary wetland restoration work. They must also pay $45,000 in forfeitures, costs, surcharges and attorney fees. The judgment came after the parties entered into a stipulation and order for judgment to resolve the enforcement action.

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