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Oregon issues two fines over water quality violations during dam repairs

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(The Center Square) – The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality issued two enforcement orders this week over water quality violations committed by the Winchester Water Control District and TerraFirma Foundation Repair Inc.

The violations came during repairs on Winchester Dam late last summer, according to a press release from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.

The Winchester Water Control District got a $106,778 fine for violating at least 10 conditions of its 401 Water Quality Certification while repairing the dam.

The certification required the entity to meet certain conditions to protect the state’s water quality. However, it violated these conditions by discharging concrete into the river, putting down tire mats in the river and not providing passage for migrating native fish.

The Winchester Water Control District controls Winchester Dam.

Additionally, TerraFirma received a $27,600 fine for causing pollution to the waters of the state. The Roseburg-based foundation repair company discharged concrete into the North Umpqua River and put mats made of heavy truck tires into the river.

The Winchester Water Control District and TerraFirma have to either pay their fines or appeal the fines within 20 days of receiving notice of the penalty.

If they fund a supplemental environmental project that benefits Oregon, it could offset some of the fines.

Built 133 years ago, Winchester Dam is among the oldest dams in the state. It is 450 feet long across the North Umpqua River.

Notably, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife filed a $27 million claim earlier this month against the Winchester Water Control District, TerraFirma, and others for “the loss of at least 550,000 juvenile Pacific lamprey during the same dam repair project,” the release said.

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