Media Center

Trillium Development and Jeffrey Christensen Agree to Pay Penalties for Erosion Control Violations In Delafield


WAUKESHA - Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen today announced that his office has resolved a civil environmental prosecution it brought against Trillium Development, LLC, a Hartland, Wisconsin real estate development company, and Jeffrey J. Christensen, one of the company's owners and its operator. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) had asked the Wisconsin Department of Justice to prosecute Trillium and Christensen for violating state erosion control laws in the course of their construction of a condominium development project known as "the Sanctuary of Delafield." The 14-acre project site is located in the City of Delafield, uphill and one block away from Lake Nagawicka. Trillium purchased the land in 2007 from the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and plans to build and sell twenty single-family condominiums at the site. The violations in the case occurred over an approximately 18-month period in 2007 and 2008, and included:


  • More than 50 failures to implement what are known as "best management practices" (BMP) intended to minimize sediment and other pollutants from flowing off construction sites into waterways. Among the BMP violations were the defendants' failures to maintain the erosion control measures they had put in place, their failures to stabilize soil stockpiles and disturbed lands by seeding, mulching or matting, their improper installation of silt fences, and their failures to remove accumulated sediment. These violations tended to prevent storm water runoff from flowing into treatment devices like settling ponds and increased the amount of sediment washing off the site into storm sewers and Lake Nagawicka.


  • Failure to revise the site's erosion control plan after it should have become apparent, in the course of required site inspections, that the site's existing erosion control plan had inadequately reduced the polluting impacts of storm water runoff. As pointed out by the DNR, "a construction site is a fluid, dynamic thing and a project's erosion control inspectors have to know what problems to look for and, if necessary, the developer must add or move erosion controls or use additional or different methods to treat stormwater runoff in response to what is observed."


  • Failures to follow the listed sequence of major land disturbing construction activities prescribed in the site's erosion control plan. Here the defendants violated the plan's construction sequence by commencing road grading and site clearing before completing construction of stormwater sedimentation ponds.


Under the terms of the settlement agreement which has been approved by Waukesha County Circuit Judge Donald J. Hassin, Jr., Trillium and Christensen have entered pleas of no contest to the charged violations and have agreed to pay penalties and costs totaling $150,000.


"The Wisconsin Department of Justice will continue to work with DNR to ensure that the law is followed," said Van Hollen. Van Hollen added that this project site has returned to compliance with erosion control laws and the soils on the site are now properly stabilized.


Assistant Attorney General Thomas L. Dosch represented the state.