Idaho company penalized $225,000 for Clean Water Act Violations along St. Joe River

SEATTLE (May 17, 2024) – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced PotlatchDeltic Land & Lumber, LLC, of St. Maries, Idaho, will pay $225,000 for alleged violations of the Clean Water Act. 

PotlatchDeltic sits within the Coeur d’ Alene Tribe’s reservation and discharges into a section of the St. Joe River that is Tribal waters. The St. Joe River flows into Lake Coeur d’ Alene and is critical habitat for bull trout. Under the Clean Water Act, PotlatchDeltic is required to comply with National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits. 

EPA conducted an inspection in March 2017 to evaluate PotlatchDeltic’s compliance with its permits and found PotlatchDeltic had numerous stormwater violations, such as failure to implement corrective actions following continued benchmark exceedances and implement adequate stormwater pollution prevention plan controls. 

Stormwater runoff from lumber facilities containing zinc and other pollutants, when not treated and discharged directly into nearby waterbodies, can cause significant harm to rivers, lakes and coastal waters.  

PotlatchDeltic agreed to extensive remedies to come into and remain in compliance with its Clean Water Act permits, including facility improvements, construction of a new filtration system and combining its outfalls. 

PotlatchDeltic also agreed to perform two mitigation actions designed to protect and enhance habitat for trout and salmon in Hangman Creek on PotlatchDeltic’s property and within the Coeur d’Alene Tribe’s reservation. Specifically, PotlatchDeltic will place a Conservation Easement on its property that will provide 100-year, no timber harvest stream buffers of 75-feet along more than 17,800 feet of shoreline for five streams, protecting about 61.25 acres.  PotlatchDeltic also agreed to replace four road culverts on its property that are currently blocking fish passage and limiting access to spawning habitat.  

“Industrial facilities must have stormwater pollution controls in place to protect our waters,” said EPA Region 10 Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Director Ed Kowalski. “We are pleased the company took swift action to improve their operations and prevent pollution — actions that will ultimately help our water quality in the Pacific Northwest.”   

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