NORTH BEND — Main Rock Products Inc. is being fined $68,457 for polluting stormwater and increasing sediment in Kentuck Creek.
A press release from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality on Monday, May 13, said the fine is also for a number of violations that include unpermitted discharges leading to an increase of sediment in the creek.
“During an inspection in December 2018, turbidity — a measure of sediment in water — was 10,693 percent higher at the point of discharge into the creek than upstream from the discharge,” the release said. “The threshold allowed under Oregon state law is 10 percent.”
Not only that, but DEQ cited Main Rock Products for failing to collect sampling data last year and exposing pollutants to stormwater. Those pollutants include fuel spills, used oil, chemicals, and large volumes of waste uncovered and in uncontained areas, the release said. In addition, Main Rock Products didn’t have required spill response materials and equipment on site.
“Of the current penalty, $20,191 represents the economic benefit the facility gained by not controlling its sediment-laden stormwater over this rainy season,” the release said.
Main Rock Products, a 50-acre facility, is being required by DEQ to stop all unpermitted discharges and to improve conditions on site immediately.
“DEQ will consider recalculating the fine if the company revises and implements its Stormwater Pollution Control Plan, performs monitoring and takes spill prevention measures,” the release said.
The release explained that Main Rock Products holds a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System 1200-A general permit. This is implemented and administered by DEQ’s agent, the Department of Geology and Mineral Industries.
“Such permits protect aquatic life and human health by requiring permit holders use best management practices and provide monitoring data that demonstrates permit compliance and shows the site is not violating water quality standards,” the release said. “Kentuck Creek provides important habitat for aquatic life and fish, including the threatened Oregon Coast Coho salmon. Sediment can cause water quality to deteriorate and can harm aquatic life by covering up food sources, abrading.”
The company has until May 21 to appeal.
To see the enforcement letter, visit www.oregon.gov/deq/nr/0429mainrock.pdf.