A pair of citizens groups have filed a federal lawsuit alleging "numerous and repeated" violations of the pollution discharge permit in the construction of U-189 through Provo Canyon.
The Provo Canyon Coalition and the American Canoe Association said in their lawsuit that they gave notice of the violations and their intent to sue the Utah Department of Transportation and Obayashi Corp. more than 60 days ago.Since then, neither the Environmental Protection Agency nor the state has taken any civil or criminal action to redress the violations, the suit said. The case was filed in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act.
The two groups said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued what's called a 404 permit effective Aug. 11, 1995, for the construction of a four-mile stretch of the new four-lane highway between Upper Falls and Wildwood.
That permit authorized the construction within and the discharge of fill into waters of the United States, including the Provo River and wetlands adjacent to the Provo River.
Attached to the lawsuit was a long list of alleged violations of the permit, and the two groups said there are probably many more violations that have not been discovered.
The lawsuit asks Senior Judge Bruce Jenkins to declare UDOT and the contractor in violation of the law, order a stop to further violations and require the defendants to expend the funds necessary to comply with the pollution control requirements.
The two groups are also asking the judge to impose civil penalties, saying without that punishment, the "defendants will continue to violate the permits and the (Water Pollution Control) Act to the further injury of plaintiffs, their members and other members of the public."