EPA Takes Action to Address Illegal Destruction of Streams and Wetlands in Missouri and Nebraska

LENEXA, KAN. (NOV. 7, 2022) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has ordered Michael Zahner of Bollinger County, Missouri, and Mark Schmidt of Lancaster County, Nebraska, to take immediate steps to comply with the federal Clean Water Act.

The Agency is also seeking civil penalties for alleged violations of the Act. According to EPA, both Zahner and Schmidt and their respective companies, Zahner Management Company LLC and Evergreen Development Inc., filled in federally protected streams without obtaining required Clean Water Act permits.

In the Compliance Order issued to Zahner and Zahner Management Company on October 7, EPA alleges that Zahner and his company filled in portions of streams to build two lakes on his property, one approximately 13.5 acres and a smaller 2.6-acre lake. The Order requires Zahner to submit a plan to EPA describing how he and his company will mitigate for lost stream functions and stabilize the property to prevent ongoing erosion.

In the Compliance Order issued to Schmidt and Evergreen Development on October 13, EPA alleges that Schmidt and his company channelized a stream; removed in-stream vegetation; and placed fill material into a stream and abutting wetlands, as part of a 16.5-acre residential development project. Further, EPA alleges that Evergreen Development let its Clean Water Act stormwater permit authorization lapse during construction. The Order requires Schmidt and his company to submit a plan to EPA to restore the site or to mitigate for lost stream and wetland functions, as well as ordering Evergreen to reinstate its Clean Water Act permit.

In addition to the Orders issued to Zahner and Schmidt, EPA also filed administrative complaints on October 7 and October 13, respectively, pursuing penalties for the alleged Clean Water Act violations. In Zahner’s case, the Agency is seeking $171,481; and in Schmidt’s case, $138,458.

Under the Clean Water Act, parties are prohibited from discharging pollutants into streams and other protected water bodies unless they first obtain a permit.

Learn more about EPA’s Clean Water Act enforcement authorities.

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