Madison, WI – November 2004
Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager announced today that her office has filed and settled an environmental enforcement case against the Dodge County Highway Department. The complaint alleges violations of laws designed to protect the waters of the state.
The Dodge County Highway Department is in the middle of undertaking a major highway reconstruction project along County Highway S. The highway department’s road construction activities are governed by a general discharge permit issued by DNR. The complaint alleges that the Dodge County Highway Department failed to implement proper erosion control measures to ensure that its construction activities did not harm wetlands and navigable waters and failed to submit the required documentation in connection with a recent highway construction project. The complaint further alleges that the highway department dredged in Shaw Creek and placed spoils in an adjacent wetland, in violation of Wisconsin law.
For the violations alleged in the complaint, the Dodge County Highway Department has agreed to pay forfeitures, surcharges, and fees totaling $15,000. The highway department has also agreed to remediate the damage it caused to the wetlands and to designate an employee to become an erosion control specialist. The erosion control specialist will be responsible for ensuring that, on future highway construction projects, the highway department complies with all state and local laws and regulations regarding erosion control and the protection of the state’s wetlands and waters. The erosion control specialist will also act as a liaison with DNR, to ensure that DNR’s efforts at requiring the Dodge County Highway Department to fulfill its obligations under its permit do not go unheeded by the county.
Regarding the settlement of this case, Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager said, “We are pleased that, after repeated failures to abide by state laws, the Dodge County Highway Department has taken full responsibility and agreed to remedy the damage it has caused to the state’s wetlands and to ensure that it complies with all applicable requirements on future construction projects.”
The complaint was filed at DNR’s request in Dodge County Circuit Court, and Dodge County Circuit Court Judge *** approved the stipulation settling the case. Assistant Attorney General Hillary Schwab represented the State.