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For immediate release Tuesday, May 12, 2009.
Contact Bob Brammer 515-281-6699 or Rbrammer@ag.state.ia.us

Court Orders Developer of Bridges Bay Resort at East Okoboji Lake to Pay $35,000 Penalty for Silt Runoff

State lawsuit alleged repeated illegal discharge of silt-laden runoff by BBR, L.L.C. into East Okoboji from a resort construction site on the south shore of the Lake. Order also requires BBR, L.L.C. to employ “Low Impact Development Plans” in future.

Spirit Lake, Iowa. A judge has ordered the developer of Bridges Bay Resort at East Okoboji Lake -- BBR, L.L.C. of Sioux Falls, SD -- to pay a $35,000 civil penalty for repeated release of sediment into the lake during construction of the water park resort and condominiums.

Dickinson County District Court Judge David Lester also permanently prohibited any further violations by BBR, L.L.C. The order also requires BBR, L.L.C to adhere to a Low Impact Development Plan and a Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan for continuing work at the resort complex on the south shore of East Okoboji. [Go to: Judge's Order.]

Judge Lester’s “Consent Order, Judgment and Decree” was entered Monday. It resolves an environmental protection lawsuit filed by Attorney General Tom Miller in 2007. [Go to: lawsuit news release, and link to suit.]

The judge’s order said the Low Impact Development Plan for future work must include:

  • Restoration of the shoreline of East Okoboji Lake with native vegetation.

  • Installation of rain gardens, bio swales, and bio retention areas.

  • Permeable/porous paver systems to allow for collection and infiltration of storm water.

  • Soil quality restoration on all future disturbed areas to absorb, infiltrate and purify storm water runoff.

The state encourages low impact development practices, especially in sensitive areas. The Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan must include Iowa DNR-approved erosion and sediment control measures, and stabilization measures on all disturbed areas, the order said.
“East Okoboji is officially and fittingly designated a ‘high-quality water resource’ of the state,” Miller said. “It is very important that developers do things right and protect this priceless resource.”

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More background and detail:

The lawsuit resulted from inspections, investigation, and enforcement action by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

The defendant in the State lawsuit is BBR, L.L.C., doing business as BBR of South Dakota, L.L.C., with a principal place of business at 4208 West 38th St., Sioux Falls, SD 57106. (A lawsuit was filed 4-18-07 naming “Bridges Bay Resort, L.L.C.” of Sioux Falls. The suit was amended 6-12-07 to name BBR, L.L.C. as the defendant.)

The Bridges Bay resort complex includes a hotel, water park, and condominium housing on about sixty acres of land on the south shore of East Okoboji Lake. Development continues.

The lawsuit alleged that during construction and development of the resort BBR, L.L.C.:

  • Illegally discharged sediment on repeated occasions into East Okoboji Lake and caused water quality violations. On one occasion, for example, the suit says DNR officials found sediment discharging “directly to the lake” after a rainfall and “observed a large cloud of chocolate-colored water in East Okoboji Lake in front of the development.

  • Failed to comply with the terms of its permit for controlling storm-water discharges, and failed to implement its pollution prevention plan.

  • Illegally burned construction wastes at the site. DNR officials observed a large pile of construction waste being burned, including lumber, drywall, insulation and plastic, according to the suit.