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Work resumes at Roth Rock wind project

OAKLAND – Construction is again under way on a Garrett County wind project after work was halted for two weeks for violations related to water runoff and soil erosion controls.

On Aug. 25 the Maryland Department of the Environment ordered Annapolis-based developer Synergics and contractor White Construction Co. to stop work on the Roth Rock wind farm until erosion controls at the site were brought into compliance with the project’s permit requirements.

MDE allowed construction to continue Sept. 9 after an inspection confirmed that the site was in compliance, according to MDE spokesman Jay Apperson.

But Apperson declined to comment on the possibility of fines or other punitive measures against Synergics, saying the situation is “still an active case.”

The Roth Rock project will consist of 20 2.5-megawatt wind turbines stretched across about 3 miles of Backbone Mountain near the West Virginia border. It is Garrett County’s second wind project, the other being developed near Eagle Rock by Constellation Energy.

Members of Save Western Maryland, a local wind farm opposition group, alerted MDE of problems at the site July 29. Agency inspectors first went to the site Aug. 3 and found “numerous” violations throughout the project, including some inadequate erosion controls and other areas of construction where there were no controls at all, according to Apperson.

MDE told Synergics to stop all earth-moving work until the violations were corrected, and the developer agreed.

But in another inspection Aug. 24, MDE found that Synergics had continued some earth-moving work, like excavation to prepare for building wind turbine pads.

Apperson said MDE conducts periodic inspections of the site and will continue to do so as construction moves forward.