By John Schaffner
editor@reporternewspapers.net

The federal Environmental Protection Agency in April negotiated a “consent agreement and final order” with a civil penalty of $157,500 against the Capital City Club for violating clean-water rules while reconstructing its Brookhaven Golf Course last year.

The $157,500 negotiated civil penalty was in addition to an earlier fine of $150,000 by the state Environmental Protection Division and a $3,000 fine the club paid to the city of Atlanta, both of which the Brookhaven Reporter had reported on in a story April 3.

At the time of that article, representatives for the environmental agencies and the golf club said the EPA’s civil penalties were still being negotiated. The initial “total compliance action cost” listed in a June 10, 2008, EPA document had been $313,000.

According to EPA spokeswoman Laura Niles, the Capital City Club had 30 days to pay the negotiated civil penalty of $157,500 after the signed agreement was formally filed in mid-to-late April. The EPA announcement of the negotiated civil penalty was part of a press release issued the week of July 13 about fines associated with six violations in the Southeast.

As the Reporter pointed out in its Jan. 23 edition, the club at 53 W. Brookhaven Drive faced fines and penalties from the city, state and federal environmental agencies totaling in the hundreds of thousands of dollars because of runoff into streams and lakes that feed Nancy Creek during the golf course reconstruction.

The club’s general manager and chief operating officer, Matt McKinney, has said the intent was to improve water quality on the 18-hole golf course. Several streams that were routed through pipes on the course decades ago were uncovered and restored.

The EPD’s Mountain District manager, Bert Langley, said in January that the club was back in compliance, and he praised club officials for being responsive after the problem occurred in February 2008.

The EPD’s fine of $150,000 was one of the largest ever levied by the state for violations of erosion regulations designed to keep mud and silt out of rivers, streams and lakes. But the EPA’s civil penalty was even larger.

“By taking these enforcement actions, we are sending a strong message about the importance of protecting rivers, lakes and streams across the Southeast,” Stan Meiburg, the EPA’s Region 4 acting regional administrator, said in a statement.

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