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Settlement reduces well violations penalty; Seattle company to pay $12,000, train employees

For the Reporter

A Seattle construction company will pay a penalty of $12,000 for illegally decommissioning groundwater monitoring wells in Kent and Auburn, putting groundwater at risk of contamination from polluted surface water runoff.

Scarsella Brothers Inc., also will require its employees to receive training on well construction laws under an agreement with the Washington Department of Ecology.

In December 2013, Ecology penalized Scarsella Brothers a total of $36,000 for violating state well construction laws. Company personnel removed and filled in groundwater monitoring wells in Kent and Auburn.

Scarsella's workers encountered the wells while doing excavation work for King County. Their decommissioning of the wells was improperly done and illegal because they are not licensed as well drillers.

Scarsella appealed the penalty to the state Pollution Control Hearings Board but the company and Ecology agreed to resolve the appeal with a settlement agreement that provides:

• Scarsella will pay $12,000 to Ecology immediately.

• The company will satisfy $14,400 of the penalty by having 60 employees receive training from Ecology on state well construction regulations.

• Ecology will waive the remaining $9,600 of the penalty if the company: makes its $12,000 payment within 30 days of the hearings board dismissal of the appeal; meets its training obligation within one year of the dismissal.

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