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Sunday, October 20, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Tri-Cities couple fined $16,000 for dumping dirt in Naches River floodway near Nile

Water from the Naches River continues to flood over Nile Road and onto nearby farms on Monday, Oct. 12, 2009, after a weekend landslide blocked State Route 410 in Naches, Wash. A Kennewick couple have been fined $16,000 for dumping dirt into the Naches River floodway near Nile, according to the Yakima Herald on Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018. (Sara Gettys / Associated Press)
Water from the Naches River continues to flood over Nile Road and onto nearby farms on Monday, Oct. 12, 2009, after a weekend landslide blocked State Route 410 in Naches, Wash. A Kennewick couple have been fined $16,000 for dumping dirt into the Naches River floodway near Nile, according to the Yakima Herald on Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018. (Sara Gettys / Associated Press)
By Kaitlin Bain Yakima Herald-Republic, Wash.

A Kennewick couple have been fined $16,000 for putting 296 cubic yards of fill dirt in the Naches River floodway near Nile in Yakima County. The penalty came after they refused to create a plan to remove the dirt.

Richard and Sarah Tamburello, starting in May 2013, put enough dirt to fill about 30 dump trucks in the Naches River floodway below the watermark that shows how high the water’s reached and in an associated wetland, according to a news release from the state Department of Ecology. That amount of fill can obstruct the river’s floodway and alter flow patterns and flood depths.

They also ignored a January 2017 enforcement order that required them to submit a restoration plan and obtain all necessary permits to remove the fill, according to the release.

“Floodway and floodplain habitat is vital for our state waters,” said Gary Graff, section manager with Ecology’s Shorelands and Environmental Assistance program at the central regional office in Union Gap. “It provides a place for our rivers and streams to safely fluctuate, distributes nutrients and sediments for plant and soil health, creates and improves habitat, and increases public safety,”

The wetlands also protect surface and groundwater, control erosion, recharge groundwater and offer wildlife habitat.

The Tamburellos have 30 days to file an appeal.

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