A Shady Cove couple faces more than $16,000 in civil fines for continuing to operate an illegal dump that includes buried household garbage that could taint area groundwater, wells and a nearby Rogue River tributary, a state agency says.

Rick Williams and Kim Powell have twice been fined for hundreds of cubic yards of accumulated garbage around their Indian Creek Road house that has yet to be cleared since the state Department of Environmental Quality ordered them to do so in January, records show.

DEQ investigators on Nov. 4 found the couple had stored about 250 cubic yards of household garbage as well as discarded appliances, vehicle parts, furniture and tires on the property.

Some time over the ensuing three days, the couple used a backhoe to bury about 128 cubic yards of solid waste, and a DEQ inspection in late December led to the discovery of about 200 yards of waste on the property, the DEQ civil penalty reports.

The buried waste was about 700 feet uphill from Indian Creek, and the DEQ order issued Jan. 25 states it "poses a threat to groundwater, down-gradient drinking water supplies and to Indian Creek."

In Oregon it is illegal to dispose of solid waste outside of an approved landfill or transfer station.

The couple in January were fined $11,401, of which $9,401 was money DEQ calculated they saved by not properly disposing of the garbage, the order states.

That order also required Williams and Powell to clean up and properly dispose of the buried garbage by April 30 and remove all solid waste from the property by July 1, according to DEQ.

The couple met neither deadline, so DEQ fined them an additional $4,687 Aug. 25 for failing to do so, the DEQ enforcement order states.

The couple have until Sept. 19 to appeal the latest penalty.

Williams and Powell could not be immediately located for comment.

— Reach Mail Tribune reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470 or mfreeman@mailtfribune.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MTwriterFreeman.