Oregon Fines Winchester Water Control District and TerraFirma for Water Quality Violations During the Repair Work


Note: The initial news release referenced two enforcement cases, but it should have been enforcement orders. DEQ issued two enforcement orders to pay civil penalties.

Winchester, Ore.— The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality issued two enforcement orders on Thursday for water quality violations by the Winchester Water Control District and TerraFirma Foundation Repair Inc. during repairs on Winchester Dam late last summer near Roseburg.

DEQ is fining the Winchester Water Control District $106,778 for violating at least 10 conditions of its 401 Water Quality Certification for repair work on the dam. The certification required certain conditions be met during the dam repair project to ensure protection of state water quality standards. The violations include discharging concrete into the river, putting down tire mats in the river, and failing to provide passage for migrating native fish. The Winchester Water Control District owns and operates Winchester Dam.

Additionally, DEQ is fining TerraFirma $27,600 for causing pollution to waters of the state by discharging concrete into the North Umpqua River and placing mats made of heavy truck tires into the river. TerraFirma is a Roseburg-based foundation repair company.

The Winchester Water Control District and TerraFirma must either pay the fines or file an appeal within 20 days of receiving notice of the penalty. They may be able to offset a portion of the fines by funding a supplemental environmental project that benefits Oregon’s environment.

Winchester Dam is a 17-foot-tall dam built in 1890, making it one of the oldest in Oregon at 133 years old. It spans 450 feet across the North Umpqua River. Earlier this month, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife filed a $27 million claim against the Winchester Water Control District, TerraFirma, and others for the loss of at least 550,000 juvenile Pacific lamprey during the same dam repair project.