05/21/2009

By Lisa Loomis

The Vermont Agency of Natural Resources has dropped enforcement action against Waitsfield excavator Fred Viens over work done around the Waitsfield Town Pond in April 2008.

The ARN has also formally settled its enforcement action against Charlie Hosford for his role in having work done around the pond.

John Zaikowski, enforcement attorney with the ANR, said this week that the agency had completed its review of the matter and was taking no further enforcement action against Viens. He said that the ANR had formally solved its case against Hosford through a written settlement agreement which the Vermont Environmental Court signed on May 11.

BREACH IN OUTTAKE PIPE

The ANR enforcement action against the two men stemmed from work done around the Waitsfield Town Pond when Hosford, a member of the Waitsfield Select Board, asked Viens to take action to reduce water levels in the town pond after a sinkhole developed at the north end of the pond. The sinkhole was caused by a breach in the outtake pipe.

At the request of Hosford, Viens reduced the water level downstream from the pond, which he did by channelizing and dredging in land that is classified as a state wetland.  That action resulted in an illegal discharge into state waters without a permit.

At the time, the town received two 1272 enforcement orders calling for the repairs to be undertaken immediately to remediate the discharge to the wetlands, and to draw down the pond. Last summer, Zaikowski, via certified letter, notified Hosford and Viens that the ANR was taking enforcement action against them.

NEVER FORMALLY FILED

Zaikowski said this week that the state never formally filed "any paperwork or charges against Mr. Viens. We notified him that there were potential violations attributable to him."

"We did engage in discussions with him and his attorney Lauren Kolitch and ultimately decided not to pursue the any further action against him," he added.

"We formally resolved our case against Mr. Hosford through a written settlement filed with the Environmental Court, an assurance of discontinuance. It lays out the applicable rules and regulations and provides a statement of facts and an agreement, including fines and supplemental project funding," Zaikowski said.

WETLANDS RESTORATION

Hosford was fined $750 and agreed to fund a supplemental environmental project of $2,500. The nature of the project will be worked out between Hosford and the ANR but will likely have some connection to this incident, such as wetlands restoration or streamside reclamation.

After the April action and the state's subsequent 1272 enforcement actions, the town took financial responsibility for the engineering and reparations work and the cost of the work done in April. The town is also proceeding with long overdue maintenance and repair work to the dam at the northern end of the pond.  Voters approved up to $100,000 in funding for the broader scope of repairs at Town Meeting this year and last month the town awarded the contract for that work.

Kingsbury Construction, Waitsfield, was the low bidder for the project, with a bid of $64,950. There were four bids on the project. Dubois Construction was the high bidder at $94,889, followed by Noel Dydo at $87,200 and Dimario Construction at $86,190.

Work on the project will start this summer in June or July and will be completed by mid September. The project will also include a forebay at the south end of the pond to catch silt so that the entire pond does not need to be dredged in the future.

{loadnavigation}