DOT, feds settle water pollution dispute

Posted: Sunday, June 06, 2010

ANCHORAGE - The Alaska Transportation Department has agreed to pay nearly $1 million to settle water pollution accusations made by the Justice Department.

The Anchorage Daily News reports the department has agreed to pay a $140,000 fine and donate $850,000 to preserve riverbanks on the Kenai Peninsula.

The department did not admit violating storm water rules in the Clean Water Act.

The dispute involved projects in 2005 and 2006 on Anchorage roads and the Kenai River Bridge on the Sterling Highway in Soldotna.

The Justice Department also accused the department of illegally putting fill material into waterways during emergency work in 2002 on the Kenai Peninsula after floods wiped out several bridges and closed the highway to Homer. The department did not obtain permits for the work at 10 locations.

The $850,000 donation will go to the Kachemak Heritage Land Trust, a Homer nonprofit. The department has also agreed to plant vegetation at three locations along the Kenai River that were damaged by the floods.

Two Anchorage contractors also agreed to pay $300,000 in fines related to the construction projects and to train employees and increase inspections to comply with storm water rules.

The settlement was filed Wednesday in Alaska federal district court.

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