NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

March 1, 2013

Complaint filed against marinas

Watchdog group alleges water violations

NEWBURYPORT — The Conservation Law Foundation has filed a complaint against Steven Karp and his development company for alleged violations of the federal Clean Water Act at Karp’s four Newburyport marinas.

The initiative comes from the organization’s litigation office in Montpelier, Vt. Legal officials there say the suit, if served, will focus on the discharge of allegedly impure stormwater emissions by four marinas here — Newburyport Boat Basin at 99 Union Place; Newburyport Harbor Marina, 51 Water St.; Hilton’s Marina, 54 Merrimac St.; and Windward Yacht Yard, 58 Merrimac St.

According to records at the U.S. District Court of the District of Massachusetts, the complaint was filed on Feb. 14.

Zachary Griefen, enforcement litigator with the CLF, stated that Karp’s New England Development officials have not been served with a complaint. CLF officials say that it is possible to file an “intent to file” with the court, while working with the company to rectify conditions.

Chris Skiba, general manager of Newburyport Development, the local division of New England Development that is owned by Karp, yesterday said he had “no comment.”

In its “intent to file” document, the CLF stated that New England Development is discharging impure stormwater directly into the Merrimack River.

Also, the CLF states that NED has failed to obtain a permit that would give it limited permission to dispose of such stormwater runoff.

In addition, the NED “has failed to obtain individual (federal) permit coverage for the process water discharges with its pressure-washing activities.”

The CLF is a not-for-profit organization that its leaders say is focused on protecting the New England environment, including the waters, forests and mountains. It began operations in 1966.

In recent years it has taken an active role in attempting to improve the quality of rivers, lakes and the ocean by prevailing on waterfront organizations to limit the entry of stormwater into those waters.

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