Wayzata Company Agrees To Pay More Than $400,000 For Violating Clean Water Act
MINNEAPOLIS—A Wayzata-based company has entered into an agreement with the federal government to settle allegations that it violated the Clean Water Act by filling a wetland near the Elk River outside of Sauk Rapids without complying with the terms of a permit issued by the United States Army Corps of Engineers. Under the terms of the agreement, filed in the form of a consent decree on March 5, 2013, DMH Partners North, LLC, agreed to pay a $75,000 civil penalty to the U.S. and to purchase wetland credits valued at approximately $340,000.
In its complaint, the federal government alleged that in August 2008, the Army Corps of Engineers issued DMH a permit under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act in connection with DMH’s commercial development of a 34-acre parcel in Sauk Rapids. That parcel contained approximately 10.2 acres of wetlands protected by the Clean Water Act. The wetland was comprised of sedge meadow, shallow marsh, shrub carr, and hardwood forest plant community types. The wetland abuts a tributary that flows to the Mississippi River via the Elk River.
The permit allowed DMH to discharge fill material into 7.8 acres of the wetland provided certain conditions were met, including purchasing off-site wetland credits intended to mitigate harm to the wetland. In June 2009, the Corps inspected the site and found that DMH had filled wetland on the site, but abandoned it without completing the conditions of the permit, including the purchase of off-site wetland credits. It was later discovered that the site had been sold at a foreclosure auction.
The Corps issued DMH and its officers notices of permit violations in September 2009 and a Clean Water Act Compliance Order in February 2010, demanding DMH rectify the violations. DMH did not comply with either the permit or compliance order.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Ann M. Bildtsen represented the United States in this court action.