Logger fined $8,515 for polluting Steuben stream while harvesting wood

Posted Aug. 13, 2012, at 12:19 p.m.

MACHIAS, Maine — A Lamoine man has paid $8,515 in civil penalties and has been ordered to restore two properties in Steuben after being charged by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection with polluting a stream while harvesting timber.

A consent decree issued in Machias District Court contends timber harvesting procedures used by David Crane and his Crane Contract Cutting business failed to conform to erosion and sediment control standards requirements. That resulted in a discharge of pollutants into a waterway in violation of the federal Water Pollution Control Act.

According to the DEP complaint, both Maine Forest Service and DEP staff, while investigating a timber trespass complaint nearby in October 2006, observed a loaded Crane Contract skidder travel back and forth across a tributary to Asa Dyer Brook, which eventually feeds into Dyer Bay.

Without there being a crossing installed over the stream, the complaint alleged that the stream bottom and banks were “heavily disturbed,” causing downstream siltation 1,000 feet from where the skidder crossed.

The complaint says subsequent investigation showed four different locations where skidders had also crossed the stream, sending siltation more than a mile downstream.

The settlement requires Crane to restore two stream crossings located on the properties, which front Dyer Bay Road and are owned by David K. and Patricia M. Robertson and the heirs of James P. Leighton. Those restorations require removal of fill, grading required to stabilize stream slopes, grass seeding and, on the Leighton property, removal of a culvert. That work will be supervised by the DEP.

Crane said Monday that he has already paid the fine and is now awaiting the right water table conditions to complete the restoration required by the consent decree. Crane said his business no longer exists.

The DEP is accepting written comments about the enforcement action through Friday, Sept. 7.

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