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Kickapoo settlement worth $20K

By Keith Loria | Jan 5, 2011

Van Hollen

WINNECONNE,Wis. (Legal Newsline) - Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced on Tuesday that a contractor has been ordered to pay $20,000 for allegedly causing environmental damage in the Kickapoo River.

Radtke Contractors allegedly failed to remove material from the Richland County river after doing bridge construction work in 2008 for the Department of Transportation.

The project required the company to replace the State Highway 56 bridge over the Kickapoo River. According to the contract, Radtke Contractors was responsible for any construction material that fell into the river.

The suit alleged that Radtke Contractors let wooden beams called false work and related bridge construction material fall into the water in September 2008 and failed to clean it up.

The suit also alleged that the company placed material on the bed of a navigable water without a permit.

DOT officials heard complaints from fisherman about the debris in the water and Radtke was contacted about cleaning the mess up. Some of the wooden false work floated downstream more than 300 feet from the bridge and became hung up on a snag, completely blocking the width of the river with used lumber containing nails, Van Hollen says.

On Nov. 3, 2008, the Department of Natural Resources sent a notice of violation to the contracting company. The company then had the wooden false work removed from the river a few days later.

The wooden false work in the river allegedly eliminated the navigability of a large section and caused hazardous conditions to public users of the river, which is a popular canoe route.

"Wisconsin law requires that contractors manage construction projects so as to protect public use of the state's navigable waters," Van Hollen said. "The Wisconsin Department of Justice will continue to work with the DNR to ensure that navigation of Wisconsin's waters is safeguarded through compliance with the law."

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