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U.S. EPA ISSUES ORDERS TO GRAVEL COMPANIES TO HALT DISCHARGES

 SAN FRANCISCO, May 6 /PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) has issued an order to Michael S. LaPaglia and his company, North County Sand and Gravel Inc., for damaging areas of the San Luis Rey River in San Diego County by conducting unpermitted sand and gravel mining activities.
 "U.S. EPA is concerned that this unlawful activity has endangered the physical and biological health of the San Luis Rey River," said Harry Seraydarian, U.S. EPA's Water Management Division director. "Immediate action is needed to halt the degradation and restore this special natural resource."
 An amended order was also issued to California Sand and Gravel Inc., which operates a gravel mining operation at the same location as North County Sand and Gravel. An order was previously issued to California Sand and Gravel in July 1992 because it engaged in unpermitted sand and gravel activities. The amended order requires the company to consider changes in the river caused by recent flooding when it develops a plan to remedy the damage to the river caused by its illegal activities.
 LaPaglia and North County and California Sand and Gravel must mitigate the impacts made to the physical and biological resources of the San Luis Rey River. The discharges may have affected the habitat of the least Bell's vireo, a federally listed endangered bird that lives along the river.
 U.S. EPA's investigation found that North County deposited sand and gravel into the river, a violation of the Clean Water Act, between 1985 and 1988. North County is no longer in operation at the site. California Sand and Gravel's violations occurred between 1989 and 1992. The violations occurred when the companies used earth-moving equipment to clear and level some vegetated areas and to create access roads, staging areas and stockpiles for their operations. In some places, these discharges changed the river's course by diverting its flow, and, in others, riparian vegetation was buried by the fill.
 The orders require the companies to:
 -- within 20 days, submit proposed methods and a timetable to remedy the adverse effects of the unauthorized activities; and,
 -- develop a detailed removal and remediation plan within 60 days of U.S. EPA's approval of the methods and timetable.
 The plan must include measures to:
 -- remedy the adverse effects of the illegal fills on the river's aquatic and riparian resources. This includes ensuring that hydrological conditions for the river are restored; and,
 -- revegetate the affected portions of the river with indigenous species of plants.
 Remediation of physical and hydrological impacts caused by the unauthorized activities must be completed within six months while remediation for biological impacts must be completed within one year.
 If the companies or LaPaglia fail to comply with the order, they may face penalties of up to $25,000 per day per violation.
 U.S. EPA has jurisdiction over discharges into waters of the United States, which includes rivers up to their high water boundary, and adjacent wetlands.
 -0- 5/6/93
 /CONTACT: Lois Grunwald of U.S. EPA, 415-744-1588/


CO: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; California Sand and Gravel
 Inc.; North County Sand and Gravel Inc. ST: California IN: ENV SU: EXE


TM -- SF012 -- 5559 05/06/93 14:55 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:May 6, 1993
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