Cannabis Growers Fined For Water Quality Violations

Sizeable fines have been ordered against two separate property owners for water quality violations associated with their cannabis cultivation’s in Western Shasta County. 41-year-old Teng Vang of Sacramento used to own property near Ono where he had a large number of marijuana plants growing in raised planters scattered through the brush on a hillside. Inspectors working for the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board found that he had done grading and construction of stream crossings and access roads without getting the necessary permits. That caused sediment discharges into tributaries of Ducket Creek and North Fork Cottonwood Creek, both of which are habitat for threatened salmon. Inspectors also found that Vang had built an un-permitted surface water diversion to irrigate his cannabis. Over two years ago, the board ordered Vang to clean up the mess and prevent further erosion and fouling of the water, but he apparently took no action. As a result the board has ordered a fine of $83,187. In addition to the fine, Vang and the current property owner are still obligated to complete the cleanup.

Another case involves property in Ono owned by Konkeo Khamvongsa of Wisconsin and Alexandra Kensavath of Fresno. Inspectors found that they developed the property for cannabis cultivation by grading 2-and-a-half acres and building an earthen dam, all without permits. That caused discharge into streams that were tributaries of Fidler Creek and North Fork Cottonwood Creek. A cleanup order was issued in June of 2016, which was apparently ignored. The two are still responsible for the cleanup, and also have been issued a $150,000 fine.

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