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John Berry

ADEQ STEPS UP TO THE PLATE

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I just got an email informing me that the Baxter Bulletin was going to run a story tomorrow stating that the ADEQ filed a civil suit against Homeport Land Company (The development company responsible for the devastation at Norfork Overlook Estates)today. This might get Mr. Doyals attention.

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Greg says Trout Unlimited will now file to join in the ADEQ lawsuit.

Here's the Baxter Bulletin story:

ADEQ files lawsuit against developer

The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality filed a lawsuit in Baxter County Circuit Court against Homeport Land Company, doing business as Overlook Estates, just after noon today.

The lawsuit seeks injunctive relief and money damages against Homeport for operating a 100-acre construction site near Norfork Dam and allegedly failing to comply with state law.

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The suit alleges Homeport failed to obtain an ADEQ permit, violated state and federal regulations, failed to install erosion control measures and failed to stabilize areas of the site.

The suit also alleges Homeport's acts resulted in sediment being discharged via stormwater runoff into the North Fork and White rivers and caused pollution.

ADEQ claims in its lawsuit that Homeport did not comply with ADEQ's Emergency Order requiring it to cease and desist from polluting the waters of the state and requiring it to install effective erosion controls.

"The pollution of the waters of the state resulting from the actions and inactions of the defendant ... have resulted in damages to the natural resources of the state ..., specifically the surface water, fish and biota contained in the North Fork River and the White River," the ADEQ alleges in its lawsuit.

ADEQ asks the court to grant a temporary and a permanent injunction against Homeport directing that it cease and desist from polluting state waters, that it be ordered to remove pollutants resulting from erosion at the site, that it be ordered to install effective erosion control measures and that it be ordered to pay penalties and costs and pay for damages to the natural resources of the state.

Benny Doyal is owner of Homeport, a Yellville-based development company.

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Dano:

Glad to see some action finally being taken by the state of Arkansas on this issue, it just seems that sometimes more damage is done before they act. I can tell you from my experience dealing with environmental issues for the railroad I retired from storm water runoff is a big issue with the feds, a Storm Water Control Plan is a must have in todays business.

I love Norfork tailwaters but have been a little hesitant to go with so many problems with the run off, with my luck I would get there and have a big rain and chocolate water to contend with!

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I am relieved that something is being done at long last. This is the right course. I hope that this is taken seriously and things get straightened out. I hope and pray it is in time.

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My question is this: What can be done now to stop the runoff from the site and how can the sediment be cleared from the river? The only thing that I can think of that would help solve the problem would be to lay sod all over the hillside or pour concrete over it. Also, can they run the water hard enough without opening the floodgates to clear out the sediment?

The thing that worries me is that now that it is in court, Mr. Doyal can fight it out with the ADEQ and drag this thing out for months while the damage continues. The state should be able to shut him down, make the necessary repairs, and bill him for the work. It's a shame that this has happened, after the last rain, the mud was still thick at Calico. Maybe this is the wake-up call for what runaway development brings. I just hope that money and the good ole boy system does not prevail in this matter.

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"pour concrete over it".

Wouldn't want that, it would only compound the problems, vegatation is the only reasonable ground cover.

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I talked to my Buddy, Donald Dunn, a hydrologist and former head of the Corps Of Engineers in Little Rock. He said the would have to run a double butt load of water through the flood gates to flush out all of the sediment and then restock the river.

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