The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality has issued a penalty to PacifiCorp for failing to monitor water quality and keep accurate records during dredging operations at the Red Blanket Creek and Middle Fork Rogue River diversion dams in August 2011.
Dredging operations are permitted at both dams, but must follow requirements contained in a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permit and a DEQ issued water quality certification. DEQ’s certification requires monitoring both upstream and downstream for muddy, turbid water during dredging and accurate record keeping of turbidity levels. It also requires PacifiCorp to identify what practices are being used to reduce plumes of turbid water that can result from a dredging operation.
These monitoring and recording requirements help ensure that dredging activities are conducted in a manner that minimizes any adverse impacts to water quality. By failing to comply with these requirements, PacifiCorp deprived DEQ and the public of the information needed to confirm that its dredging operations met standards for protecting water quality.
Dredging Today Staff, April 12, 2012; Image: pacificorp