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Kennewick couple fined for dumping dirt in floodway

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YAKIMA, Wash. (AP) - Officials say a Kennewick couple has been fined $16,000 after refusing to make a plan to remove the 296 cubic yards of dirt that they dumped in the Naches River floodway in central Washington.

According to the state Department of Ecology, Richard and Sarah Tamburello began dumping dirt in the floodway near Nile in May 2013 in an effort to extend a part of their property.

The Yakima Herald-Republic reported Thursday that a floodway is defined as a river channel that needs to be reserved to handle floodwater.

Officials say the dirt dumped in the floodway could block the river and alter flow patterns and flood depths.

Ecology spokeswoman Joye Redfield-Wilder says it is unknown whether the dirt caused any flooding.

The couple is also required to remove the dirt.

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