Inspectors from the Washington state Department of Ecology have started carrying ticket books when they check for water pollution at construction sites, industrial operations or sand and gravel mines.
The tickets carry fines of $500 to $3,000.
On field visits, the agency says, it's common to find oil spills, muddy runoff pouring out of construction sites and similar problems. Being able to write a ticket on the spot “will provide near-immediate consequences,” according to water quality program manager Kelly Susewind.
Ecology doesn't keep the money from the fines. It goes to local governments and tribes for water quality improvements and restoration work.