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Penalties pile up against owner of leaky septic system on Crowson Road

 Posted: 4:25 PM November 14, 2012

A landlord from Central Point faces a second civil fine for failing to fix a leaky septic system at an Ashland rental property where sewage has seeped into the street.

Denis Ervin Toney has until Tuesday to contest the $3,612 penalty he faces for ignoring state Department of Environmental Quality orders to repair the failed septic system at his property on the first block of Ashland's Crowson Road.

Toney already was fined $4,265 in June for failing to respond to DEQ letters requiring him to clean up the mess, DEQ records show.

Not only has Toney failed to pay that fine, "we didn't receive any response to the earlier civil penalty and order," said Susan Elworth, a DEQ environmental law specialist in Portland who has worked on the case.

Reached by telephone today, Toney said he plans to contest the fine but declined further comment.

Elworth said the property has been vacant and there have been no recent complaints about spilled sewage.

DEQ officials said they don't know what's wrong with the septic system because Toney has failed to have the system inspected as DEQ required, Elworth said.

It was also unclear whether the fines levied so far in the case exceed the costs for cleanup and repairs, Elworth said.

The case began in September 2011 when a citizen's complaint spurred DEQ to send an inspector to the property, where he noticed sewage discharging from the system into the street, the agency report states.

Toney was sent two letters requesting he make repairs before his first civil penalty was assessed, Elworth said.

— Mark Freeman

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