Eagle Star Rock Products in St. Helens fined $4,200 for stormwater violations last fall

SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: NICOLE THILL-PACHECO - Eagle Star Rock Products was issued a civil penalty by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality for building a culvert to divert stormwater last fall. The company has since made improvements to comply with DEQ regulations, but still faces a $4,200 penalty.A St. Helens quarry was issued a civil fine by the Oregon Department of Quality for diverting stormwater into Perry Creek last September.

Eagle Star Rock Products, which operates a quarry on Hankey Road in St. Helens, was fined $4,200 for diverting stormwater in the Perry Creek last fall, a release from DEQ stated.

An inspection by the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries in September showed that a water bar was intentionally constructed to divert stormwater off an upper pad of land and offsite road down a slope towards the creek roughly 1,000 feet away, according to DEQ reports. As a result a five foot deep gully was created by the erosion of the runoff.

Stormwater runoff can be turbid, which can threaten fish and other aquatic wildlife, including endangered salmon and steelhead, the release states. Perry Creek flows into Milton creek which is a habitat for those species.

Turbid water can clog fish gills, prevent egg and larvae development, reduce photosynthesis in plants and increase water temperatures, the DEQ release added.

During the same inspection last year, dozens of buckets filled with oil, grease, antifreeze, several punctured

metal drums and a fuel tank were being stored outside without any secondary containment.

Since the initial inspection, the company has taken steps to correct the violation, including removing the water bar and regrading the road. A February inspection also showed that the buckets of hazardous substances were placed into storage sheds and secondary containment was being installed. Those improvements were taken into consideration when the $4,200 fine was imposed, the DEQ release added. The condition of the gully was unchanged, however.

Eagle Star Rock Products has until June 14 to completely restore the area. A manager or spokesperson for the company did not respond to a request for comment by the Spotlight's press time.

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