Hefty Ecology fines hit gravel company

Lack of paperwork cited

The state Department of Ecology fined three Whidbey Island sand and gravel facilities associated with Krieg Construction a total of $48,000 for not submitting reports required by the water quality permit under which they operate.

The three $16,000 penalties went to Krieg Construction, a concrete mixing plant on Highway 20 in Oak Harbor; Krieg Construction, Inc., an asphalt batch plant and sand and gravel mine located on W. Sleeper Road in Oak Harbor; and Central Whidbey Sand and Gravel, an industrial sand mine on Madrona Way in Coupeville, which is leased and operated by Krieg Construction, Inc.

Chuck Krieg, vice president at Krieg Concrete Products, Inc., emphasized that there was no actual water quality violations. He said the required testing was all done by Edge Analytical of Burlington and the results showed no problems with water quality.

Krieg said he simply didn’t turn in the reports.

“Due to some personal crises, I was unable to get that done,” he said.

While he doesn’t dispute that he failed to submit the reports, Krieg said he plans on appealing the high amount of the fines.

Larry Altose, a spokesman for Ecology, said the penalties were hefty because it wasn’t the first time Krieg violated the rules. Ecology previously fined each facility $2,000 in 2006 for failing to submit monitoring reports in 2004 and 2005. The Krieg Construction facility was fined $4,000 in 1998 for failing to submit reports from 1994 through 1997. The penalties were paid.

“Ecology’s water quality permitting system holds each facility that receives a permit accountable for collecting and reporting information about its discharges,” Kevin Fitzpatrick, regional supervisor for Ecology’s water quality program, said in a press release. “Self-reporting is a serious requirement, not a free pass.”

According to the Department of Ecology, sand and gravel operations must collect and manage stormwater using “best management practices.” Each quarter they must measure conditions of the stormwater they release and report these to the state. The three facilities have submitted none of these monitoring reports for all of 2006 and 2007.

Altose said that all three Whidbey facilities discharge stormwater into the groundwater. All three facilities must test whether the water is too caustic or has signs of oil contamination. The concrete plant must also measure dissolved solids.