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Agreement reached over illegal dumping in Ventura County creek

January 17, 2012 |  6:27 pm

A Ventura County contractor and his company will pay $225,000 for illegal dumping in a creek that feeds into a large coastal estuary, officials said Tuesday.

Thomas Staben and TA Staben Inc. illegally filled Calleguas Creek with 40,000 cubic yards of material -- the equivalent of  about 2,000 large dump truck loads, the Environmental Protection Agency said.

The creek is the main freshwater source for the Mugu Lagoon Estuary, one of Southern California's largest coastal wetland systems and home to a number of endangered species, the agency said in a statement.

Staben also agreed to spend at least $500,000 to remove the fill and restore the creek. Staben could not be reached Tuesday evening for comment.

"Restoring Calleguas Creek is a win for the environment and for the local community," said Jared Blumenfeld, the agency's regional administrator for the Pacific Southwest.

The agreement with the agency is part of a proposed settlement that must be approved by a federal court.

Staben has a history of noncompliance dating back to 1989 and was cited by the Army Corps of Engineers on various occasions for working without a permit in Calleguas Creek and the Ventura River, according to the statement.


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— Robert J. Lopez