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Environment, Energy and Transportation

Oregon DEQ issues $30,000 fine to Army Corps of Engineers

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Department of Environmental Quality
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Photo taken of when DEQ and US Army Corps of Engineers met onsite in June 2019 and dug exploratory pits to confirm or deny waste disposal.

The Army Corps of Engineers is being fined over $30,000 for an unpermitted dumpsite at the Eagle Creek Dam in Jackson County.

The Corps is one of 10 organizations in Oregon that were fined by the Department of Environmental Quality, according to a release issued last Thursday.

When work on the Elk Creek dam stopped in 1988, 55-gallon drums of debris as well as construction material were buried illegally during an Army Corps project. Laura Gleim, with the DEQ, says that dumpsites like these can be dangerous.

“Establishing illegal dumps can threaten human health and the environment because it can provide habitat for disease-carrying insects or rodents. It can also pollute groundwater and surface water.”

Although the dumpsite stopped being active in 1988, the investigation started in 2019, after the Department of Environmental Quality got a tip about the site through their pollution complaint system.

Tom Conning is with the Army Corps of Engineers. He says they are investigating who is responsible for the illegal dumpsite.

“It was a former contractor for the district that disposed of those barrels,” he said. “Those actions are still the subject of an investigation by the Army criminal investigation division.”

Other organizations that received penalties from the DEQ include Rogue Valley Stations, Inc. in Ashland and CDR Maguire, Inc. in Medford.