EPA Fines Imperial Irrigation District for Clean Water Act Violations
The U.S. EPA announced a settlement with California’s Imperial Irrigation District (IID) for violations of the Clean Water Act.
The violations include the pollution of local wetlands, reported EPA.
A Nov. 5, 2020, EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers inspection of IID’s construction of drain banks in the area discovered that activities resulted in the discharge of sediment to approximately 1 acre of wetlands. The discharge impacted approximately 20 acres of wetlands and severed the connection with Morton Bay, according to EPA. Morton Bay drains toward the Salton Sea.
The discharge of the fill material was done without obtaining a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued under CWA Section 404, 33 U.S.C. § 1344, according to the public notice. EPA alleges that the discharge occurred on or around August 26, 2019.
According to the settlement, Imperial Irrigation District will pay a $299,857 penalty and ensure mitigation measures, reported EPA.
“This enforcement action reflects EPA’s continued commitment to ensuring public utilities like Imperial Irrigation District comply with federal laws and prevent pollution of wetlands,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Martha Guzman. “Actions like this are key to protecting our waterways and surrounding communities.”
IID has also been tasked with developing a plan for the removal of the sediment and the restoration of the water connection to Morton Bay, reported EPA. Failure to do so will result in needing to reestablish 63 acres of wetlands at an alternative location.
EPA's proposed a Consent Agreement and Final Order and is accepting public comment through July 5, 2022.