Seattle WA (8/3/2023) — The U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that they have reached a settlement with Brock Maslonka, of Spokane, who has agreed to pay a $50,000 penalty for the unauthorized construction of a dam on Perkins Slough, a tributary of the Pend Oreille River.
The unauthorized dam significantly degraded the ecosystem of Perkins Slough by reducing water quality, increasing turbidity, and inhibiting movement by important aquatic and semi-aquatic organisms, thus disrupting their life cycles.
In 2017 EPA received complaints that a dam had been built in the slough and discovered that Maslonka had failed to apply for a Clean Water Act permit from the Army Corps of Engineers. EPA attempted to reach an agreement with Maslonka to remove the dam, repair the damage it caused, and pay a penalty. After it was unable to reach agreement with Maslonka, EPA referred the matter to the Department of Justice, which filed the case in the Eastern District of Washington in 2020.
“In order to protect human health and the environment it is absolutely vital that individuals obtain the appropriate permits,” said EPA Region 10 Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Director Ed Kowalski. “As this case demonstrates, unauthorized discharges associated with unpermitted activities can have a negative effect on the water quality of streams EPA is charged with protecting under the Clean Water Act”
In July the parties entered into an agreement, called a consent decree, in which Maslonka agreed to pay the $50,000 penalty, remove the fill material used to build the unauthorized dam, restore the site, improve forested riparian habitat through the installation of native plantings adjacent to Perkins Slough, and preserve nearby riparian habitat in perpetuity through deed restrictions.
All dam removal and restoration work must be completed by June 15, 2024. Maslonka must then monitor the work and ensure that it is successful.
The proposed settlement is open for public comment through Aug. 23 and can be viewed at https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2023/07/24/2023-15622/notice-of-lodging-of-proposed-consent-decree.
R10 Public Affairs Office (R10_Press_Team@epa.gov)