County To Pay To Fix Damage To Creek

State and federal regulators want a cold water stream in eastern Kentucky damaged by road work cleaned up, something local officials said they are willing to do.

An $82,000 road project along Laurel Creek near the Rowan-Elliott county line three years ago dumped silt into the stream and rerouted the flow of the creek. The Environmental Protection Agency considers the creek a pristine cold water aquatic habitat.

The agency found the fiscal court and then-judge-executive, Clyde Thomas, in violation of the federal Clean Water Act because of the damage caused by the work.

Current Rowan County Judge-Executive Jim Nickell said the county broke the law by doing work that was never approved and permitted and needs to pay the penalty.

"We're stuck with it, and we're going to try to get it fixed and do what the federal and state EPA wants us to do," Nickell said.

The EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers discovered the damage in August 2004 while conducting a review at Laurel Creek. Construction stopped as county officials said they would work with regulators.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved

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