CARNATION, Wash. -- King County’s Department of Permitting and Environmental Review said Monday it believes several hundred cubic yards of dirt were dumped illegally at Remlinger Farms by a company owned by Dave Remlinger, a well-known landowner and businessman.
Neither Remlinger Farms nor Dave Remlinger returned calls for comment. The farm is owned by Gary Remlinger.
Earlier this month, river restoration work began along the Snoqualmie River headed by the Wild Fish Conservancy. The $850,000 project, designed to help Chinook salmon and other wildlife, involves removing dirt and rocks from the shoreline near Carnation to improve river flow.
Wild Fish Conservancy hired Wetlands Creation Inc., which is owned by Remlinger, to move dirt to two pre-arranged sites. However, just weeks after work began, crews were spotted taking the dirt to a spot along Langlois Creek on Remlinger Farms property, according to Micah Wait from the conservancy.
“It’s a shame to know some of this went into the degradation of some of the habitats here,” Wait said. Wait added that his colleagues took video of the illegal dumping and promptly contacted King County.
“We went out to the site and found that soil had been moved to the Remlinger property and mixed into other soil there,” explained Director of King County’s Department of Permitting and Environmental Review John Starbard.
The main concern is the land where the dirt was dumped is in a floodplain and next to Langlois Creek, which Wait said is a salmon bearing stream. Proper permits need to be attained before moving any dirt in a floodplain, Starbard explained.
“If additional soil is deposited in that area, that can really mess up the flooding impacts within a valley,” Starbard said.
Starbard could not give a firm estimate on possible penalties. In most situations, the county would simply double whatever the fees are for removing the illegally dumped dirt, which can cost several thousand dollars.
Dirt movement at the Snoqualmie River site has stopped, but removal of rocks and other material continues. Work is supposed to be completed by the end of the week.