Richard Herr has been in the DNR’s sights before. In 2008, the state Department of Justice brought a suit against his company, alleging it violated storm water runoff rules.
Herr and his Delafield company, Stoneridge Associates LP, paid a $240,000 settlement in the case, which was referred to the Justice Department by the DNR.
The violations happened from 2006 to 2009 at a 500 housing unit project under construction by Herr in Dousman in Waukesha County. The DNR received complaints in 2007 about mud and silt from the construction site running into a lake near the property.
Agency staff found several problems at the site including a retention pond that was not functioning properly and muddy areas that were supposed to be seeded. Herr, according to the charges, also filled a navigable ditch and changed the flow of water to and from the site and constructed lakes and ponds without permits.
Herr said he followed the runoff rules as best he could but a flood in August 2007 sent a lot of stormwater and sediment into area waterways from his land. He said nothing would have stopped the floodwaters from causing the runoff.
Herr also was quoted in The (Milwaukee) Daily Reporter newspaper as saying the DNR fined him “because they thought I had money.” He said runoff had been coming off the farmland he had been developing for 60 years.