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Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen Announces Judgment Requiring Waukesha County Developer and Owner to Pay Penalties and Restore Wetlands

 

MADISON – On September 2, 2011, the Waukesha County Circuit Court entered a Judgment against Berg Construction Inc. and owner Cheryl A. Berg, requiring them to place $6,000 in escrow to complete necessary wetland restoration work and to pay $45,000 in forfeitures, surcharges, costs and attorney fees. The Judgment came after the parties entered into a Stipulation and Order for Judgment to resolve the enforcement action.

 

According to the complaint filed by the Department of Justice, Berg Construction began grading approximately six acres of land owned by its President, Cheryl Berg, without first applying for a construction site erosion control and storm water discharge permit, and without first putting in place best management practices to prevent discharges of sediment to waters of the state.

 

A permit application would have triggered the identification and delineation of protected wetlands on the property.

 

According to the complaint, the proper plans were not implemented, and wetlands were not identified and delineated in or before 2007, when the DNR learned that construction had started. In addition, a detention basin at the site was not completed and consequently failed during a rain event, causing the discharge of an unknown amount of construction site sediment into the wetlands and into the Mukwonago River. Although some wetland restoration work was done by Berg Construction in accordance with a DNR-approved plan, this work ceased in 2009.

 

“The Department of Justice will continue to work with the Department of Natural Resources to protect Wisconsin's waters and make sure businesses that follow our environmental laws are not put at a competitive disadvantage," Attorney General Van Hollen said.

 

According to the DNR, the Mukwonago River is one of the most biologically diverse streams in southeastern Wisconsin, and it provides critical habitat for a number of rare, threatened and endangered species of fish and invertebrates. Storm water runoff from construction activities can have a significant impact on water quality, and storm water flowing over a construction site can pick up phosphorous, other nutrients, and pollutants such as pesticides, petroleum products, chemical solvents, and general debris.

 

Assistant Attorney General Diane Milligan represented the State.

 

Copies of the Judgment and the Stipulation and Order for Judgment are available at the following links:

 

2011 file: