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November 8, 2023

CT contractor ordered to restore wetlands, pay fine for Clean Water Act violations

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has entered into an agreement with a Middlefield-based construction contractor requiring the company to restore wetlands that it filled, and to pay a civil penalty for alleged violations of the Clean Water Act.

The EPA said the settlement resolves allegations that Silenex Associates LLC violated federal law when it discharged, dredged and/or filled about 12 acres of freshwater wetlands and other waters at 186 Cherry Lane in Durham.

The unpermitted filling and clearing of wetlands and tributaries, which occurred between 2018 and 2021, was meant to create farm fields, according to the EPA.

As part of the settlement, Silenex will restore and/or mitigate 8.5 acres of freshwater wetlands and about 3,000 linear feet of the impacted tributaries to their natural condition. In addition, Silenex will pay a civil penalty of $24,500.

According to the EPA, natural wetlands provide a valuable habitat for wildlife and are “vital to protecting the integrity of our nation’s waters.”

Converting natural wetlands to other uses can “profoundly alter flood flows, undermine the pollutant-filtering abilities of wetlands and reduce important habitat,” the EPA says.

“One of EPA’s most important jobs is to protect water resources, such as wetlands, for both communities and wildlife,” said EPA New England Regional Administrator David W. Cash. “EPA is committed to protecting clean water resources like wetlands and holding accountable those who fail to follow laws that ensure their protection. This settlement will ensure the restoration of vital wetlands that provide a range of important ecological benefits for wildlife and local communities.” 

Silenex, an affiliate of Xenelis Construction Co. Inc., did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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