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West Bend Contractor Pays $215,000 for Violating Water Pollution Laws at Ozaukee County Shoreline Construction Project

MADISON - Anton J. Matuszczak and Shoreline Contracting Services, Inc., from West Bend, were ordered to pay $75,000 in forfeitures and surcharges for violating Wisconsin water pollution laws by failing to follow permit requirements governing a bluff stabilization project along Lake Michigan in Mequon, Ozaukee County. In addition, a $140,000 letter of credit that Matuszczak provided as a condition of the permit is being applied to restoration of the affected property. The total $215,000 follows from a lawsuit filed at the request of the Department of Natural Resources.


Under chapter 30 of Wisconsin statutes, Matuszczak and Shoreline were issued an initial and an amended permit for a project on the shore of Lake Michigan that began as a project to prevent erosion of the shoreline and which turned into a project to stabilize the bluff. The State charged Matuszczak with damaging the shoreline of Lake Michigan and leaving the Lake unprotected from erosion and sediment-laden discharges, in continuing and persistent violation of the terms of the initial and amended chapter 30 permits. In a motion for summary judgment, the State showed that Matuszczak repeatedly did not follow the issued permit conditions, changed plans without informing the Department of Natural Resources or obtaining permit amendments, and let work at the site drag on so as to exacerbate problematic erosion.


The circuit court granted the summary judgment motion on all claims in the complaint. The claims included three categories of violations. The first category comprises bluff stabilization violations associated with Matuszczak's placement of non-native materials on the bluff and his failure to properly manage groundwater and surface water on the bluff, greatly increasing the potential for bluff failure and the erosion of non-native materials into the lake. The second category, revetment construction, encompasses violations associated with Matuszczak's failure to properly construct the revetment (a bank protection structure), resulting in cumulative adverse environmental impacts and aesthetic problems. The third category, general construction problems, encompasses all of the general Best Management Practices that if followed would have protected against and slowed undue erosion of the bluff into the lake.


In 2004, judgment had been entered against Matuszczak for violations of chapter 30 at a Lake Michigan shoreline stabilization project in the City of Mequon in 1999 and 2000.


"Wisconsin law requires that contractors properly manage construction sites to protect state waters," Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said. "The Department of Justice will continue to work with the DNR to ensure that Wisconsin's natural resources are protected through compliance with the law."


Assistant Attorney General JoAnne F. Kloppenburg prosecuted the case. Ozaukee County Circuit Court Judge Tom R. Wolfgram approved the settlement.