North Carolina fines equestrian center over water quality

Photo credit: MountainTrue

The Tryon Equestrian Center that played host to the World Equestrian Games last year faces a fine for water quality violations.

The State Department of Environmental quality issued a civil penalty of more than $64,000.

The facility stepped in to host the games when the original site in Canada pulled out. Facilities were constructed in less than half the normal time.

The haste, coupled with excessive rainfall, led to water pollution violations, with sediment contaminating nearby creeks.

“All too often we see developers cut corners for the sake of profits,” said Gray Jernigan, of environmental advocacy group MountainTrue.

Jernigan took several photos of White Oak Creek from 2018 through Jan. 4, 2019 that show muddy water he said has sediment from the site.

“We think the fines and mitigation requirements are entirely appropriate for the Tryon Equestrian Center to fix the wrong they’ve done. We've been monitoring water quality out there for a long time, and last summer were some of the highest reported pollution we've had ay any construction site in Western North Carolina," Jernigan said.

The state’s Department of Environmental Quality cited TIEC with eight violations.

“As you know we've had record rainfall,” TIEC spokeswoman Sharon Decker said. “We disagree with the penalty, but we will pay the penalty. We have remediated the problem. That has been inspected and approved.”

The center's chief operating officer says it plans to appeal.

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