A local advocacy group has filed a federal lawsuit against a Geneseo, Ill., trucking company that claims illegal dumping and other environmental hazards in the Green River.
Quad-Cities Waterkeeper is suing David Ballegeer, Ballegeer Trucking Inc., Ballegeer Excavating Inc. and Francis Ballegeer in a complaint filed July 19 in U.S. District Court, Rock Island.
“They took a beautiful river and buried it in concrete,” Art Norris of Waterkeeper said Tuesday.
The lawsuit claims the company has dumped large quantities of concrete and other construction waste along a mile-long stretch of the river in violation of the federal Clean Water Act.
It also claims the company is dredging sand from the river without permits.
Dave Ballegeer, who could not be reached Tuesday for comment, previously said he put the concrete into the river to build a protective floodwall for his hometown of Colona. He said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers gave him permission to do so.
An Illinois EPA representative has told the Quad-City Times that an inspection was done and Ballegeer isn’t violating the Clean Water Act.
A Corps of Engineers spokesperson confirmed Ballegeer was authorized under a national permit to build the floodwall.
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Kevin Cassidy, a Boston-based attorney representing the Waterkeeper group in the lawsuit, said Tuesday he doesn’t agree with the Corps of Engineers’ conclusion.
“To the extent the Corps’ position is concrete dumping and dredging that has been occurring is covered under one of the Corps’ nationwide permits, we obviously disagree,” Cassidy said.
The Green River flows about 89 miles from Lee County, Ill., southwest through Whiteside, Bureau and Henry counties before ending at the Rock River in Colona.