Friday, October 22, 2004

West Side builder fined $45,000

By Dan Klepal
Enquirer staff writer

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency fined a Hamilton County developer $45,000 for allowing mud and soil to wash into creeks during construction of three separate subdivisions.

Two of the developments - Ridgewood Place (24.5 acres) and Brierly Ridge (26 acres) - are in Green Township. The third, a 68-acre development, is called Whispering Farms and is off Wesselman Road in Miami Township.

Developer Jeff Friesz, who was unavailable for comment late Thursday, was fined $15,000 for violations at each subdivision.

OEPA officials said construction and road building exposed loose soil to weather. The developer was required to get permits that detailed how he would discharge excess water from the subdivisions. OEPA officials say inspections between 2002 and this year found violations of those permits.

"Mud is the leading pollutant in the state," OEPA spokeswoman Heather Lauer said. "At a minimum, they have to keep it off the roads and make sure it doesn't wash into drainage swales and waterways."

Brierly Creek and two tributaries of Taylor Creek were affected by the mud.

About $5,000 of the fine will go to the Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District.

The Metropolitan Sewer District was ordered by the OEPA in 1999 to install a sewer system in the Valley Ridge subdivision because about 50 homes there had faulty septic tanks.

The sewer system has since been installed.


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