Septic water study

OLYMPIA – A contractor will pay a reduced penalty, provide additional employee training, and contribute to a water quality improvement project under a settlement agreement with the Washington Department of Ecology to resolve water quality violations that took place during construction at a Lacey subdivision.

Ecology fined Milestone LLC $72,000 in January 2022 for 12 violations inspectors found at the Woodbrook Townhomes construction site between September of 2020 and October of 2021. Ecology and City of Lacey inspectors documented numerous instances of polluted stormwater leaving the construction site, including some stormwater mixed with paint and concrete. Other violations included failing to notify Ecology of high sediment discharges, unprotected catch basins, unmaintained silt fences, destabilized soils, and discharge of unpermitted septic waste to ground waters.

In the settlement, Milestone LLC agreed to contribute $46,400 toward an Ecology-approved water quality improvement project in the greater Olympia/Lacey area, pay a $14,400 fine, and have a key employee complete a stormwater compliance training course by Dec. 31, 2022.

Stormwater runoff from construction sites can carry muddy water, debris, and chemicals into local waterways like the Deschutes River and Chambers Ditch. Sediments, chemicals, and debris can harm aquatic life and reduce water quality. Ecology requires regulated construction projects like Woodland Townhomes to obtain coverage under the Construction Stormwater General Permit.

Water quality penalty payments to Ecology are placed into the state’s Coastal Protection Fund, which provides grants to public agencies and Tribes for water quality restoration projects.