August 19, 2011

DEP Fines Beaver County Man $137,800 for Wetlands Violations

Unpermitted Pond Construction Destroyed Two Acres of Wetlands, Impacted Trout-Stocked Fishery

HARRISBURG, Pa., Aug. 19, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Department of Environmental Protection announced today that Francois Bitz, of Baden, Beaver County, will pay $137,800 in civil penalties as part of a consent order and agreement for violating the state's Clean Streams Act and the Dam Safety & Encroachment Act. Bitz will also pay cost-recovery and oversight costs to DEP and the Allegheny County Conservation District.

From 2009 to 2010, Bitz excavated approximately two acres of wetlands and impacted approximately 1,100 feet of stream while constructing a recreational pond on his property in Marshall Township, Allegheny County, without the necessary permits.

"Our regulations exist to protect the quality and vitality of our streams and wetlands," DEP Southwest Regional Director George Jugovic Jr. said. "The department's permitting process allows for responsible development, but the regulations must be respected. Enforcing these regulations is a top priority."

DEP issued Bitz two compliance orders in July 2010 after inspections to the Marshall Township property revealed he had excavated portions of a stream channel of an unnamed tributary to Big Sewickley Creek, which is classified as a trout-stocked fishery. Bitz also disturbed significant portions of earth in the surrounding wetlands without developing or implementing an erosion and sediment control plan. The compliance orders outlined Bitz's failure to comply with regulations that protect wetlands and mitigate erosion during construction activity.

As a condition of the consent order and agreement, Bitz must submit a revised permit application for remediation and restoration of the impacted stream and wetlands. The agreement also stipulates that the restoration must begin within two months and be completed within six months of the issuance of the permit.

For more information, visit or call 412-442-4000.

Media contact: Kevin Sunday, 717-787-1323

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection