- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 23, 2015

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - The state watchdog has found reasonable cause to prove that several state highway department employees acted illegally when they dumped polluted dirt and sediment over a guardrail into the federally protected Salt Creek last year.

Inspector General Randall Meyer said in a report issued Wednesday that 15 to 20 dump-truck loads of debris were discharged into Salt Creek in western Vinton County in April 2014.

Ohio Department of Transportation workers were cleaning highway ditches along State Route 327 and US Route 50 in Ross County at the time.

Meyer says the Army Corps of Engineers cited ODOT at the time. The agency paid a $35,000 penalty to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in June. ODOT spent $120,000 on clean-up, which was completed in September.

The employees were not prosecuted.

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