Dirt pile is removed from bank of stream on Gouge property

March 02, 1994|By Donna E. Boller | Donna E. Boller,Sun Staff Writer

County Commissioner Julia W. Gouge and her husband, Jesse L. Gouge, removed a pile of dirt from the bank of a stream on their property last weekend to correct a county sediment control violation.

They appear to have complied with "95 to 99 percent" of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' instructions to mitigate a minor violation of federal wetlands regulations, corps inspector Sandy Mues said yesterday.

Ms. Mues said she would not release the citation against Mr. and Mrs. Gouge until she checks the property. But telephone conversations with county sediment control inspectors have convinced her that the Gouges have met federal requirements, she said. She is scheduled to visit the site March 16.

Enforcement agencies cited the Gouges for digging without permission in the stream that runs through their 8-acre property near Hampstead. Mr. and Mrs. Gouge also were cited for piling the dirt on the bank where it could run into the water.

Mr. Gouge said his son Jason dug three or four backhoe buckets full of dirt out of the stream in December because the dirt was impeding the water's flow.

Gale J. Smith, chief of Carroll's sediment control bureau, said a county inspector found the site in compliance with sediment control regulations Monday. She said the couple had moved the dirt from the stream bank, stabilized the ground with straw mulch and placed bales of straw along the banks to prevent runoff. No additional action is required "as far as our regulations go," Ms. Smith said.

State's Attorney Thomas E. Hickman, who had been checking the Gouge case for possible criminal violations, said yesterday that he considers the matter closed.

Mrs. Gouge said she was happy to put the situation behind her.

"If I ever take a dipper of dirt out of that stream again, it will be after the Corps of Engineers has approved it," she said.

The commissioner said her experience could help educate other people who clean out streams on their properties without knowing that they could be violating regulations.

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