WHEELING - The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection plans to levy a $25,950 fine against the Ohio County Development Authority because of water pollution control violations by one of its contractors.
According to the DEP, Dave Sugar Contracting, the Petersburg, Ohio, company that worked on a 5-mile waterline project for the OCDA, did not properly contain silt while working to install a pipe across a portion of Middle Wheeling Creek in the Elm Grove area. This resulted in a "distinctly visible brown plume of suspended solids to enter Middle Wheeling Creek and Wheeling." The DEP also claims the contractor did not use proper barriers in the creek during the work.
Sugar could not be reached for comment.
Photo by Shelley Hanson
Work done by a contractor in Middle Wheeling Creek led to the Ohio County Development Authority being fined. Administrator Greg Stewart says the contractor will pay the fine.
Ohio County Administrator Greg Stewart said the OCDA's contract with Dave Sugar included an agreement that his company would be responsible for adhering to DEP rules and would be responsible for any violations it might incur on the job.
Stewart said because the OCDA received grant funding for the project, the DEP required that its name be on the related environmental permit paperwork for the project. And since the OCDA's name is on the paperwork, the fine is being levied in its name. Stewart added, however, that he expected to receive the majority of the money to pay the fine in the next few weeks from Dave Sugar.
"They didn't practice up to (DEP) standards. ... We made sure they were on the hook for it," Stewart said. "They're going to pay."
He noted the OCDA could withhold its final work payment to Dave Sugar, which he estimated at $200,000, until the OCDA received money for the fine.
The DEP on May 8 began a 30-day public comment period on the matter, and Stewart noted the comment period may impact the final fine amount.
Kathy Cosco, DEP spokeswoman, said Dave Sugar's infractions did not cause any wildlife to be hurt or fish to die, but there was potential for harm and that's why the fine is being levied.
Stewart said Dave Sugar did try to appeal the fine, but the DEP did not agree with him.
"The project had some issues, but it's all but complete now," Stewart said.
Most of the violations occurred last year, but the DEP's consent order for the fines was issued in April. And a legal ad to notify the public about the comment period was published May 8.