EPA Files Enforcement Action Against Three Massachusetts Developers
Discharges of muddy stormwater from a construction site, in
violation of the federal Clean Water Act, has prompted EPA to file an
enforcement action seeking penalties against two residential
construction companies and an excavating company.
The three companies, Alden Woods, Inc., C.B. Blair Development, and
McManus Excavating, are developing a 124-lot subdivision in Holden,
Mass. Sediment laden stormwater was repeatedly observed discharging
from the construction site to nearby Chaffins Brook, which is ranked as
a "Class A" waterway by Massachusetts.
The companies failed to install and maintain controls sufficient to
prevent the muddy discharges to the stream. EPA officials stated on
Oct. 4 they are seeking a proposed penalty of $157,500 from each
operator of the Holden subdivision.
"Construction companies play a critical role in protecting our
waterways. It is imperative that companies apply for coverage under
EPA's construction stormwater permit, and fully comply with the permit
requirements," said Robert W. Varney, EPA Region 1 administrator.
Because they are operators of a site disturbing more than one acre,
the companies were required to apply for either an individual permit or
a promulgated General Permit for Storm Water Discharges from
Construction Activities. The permit requires the use of "best
management practices" to prevent erosion and sedimentation of waterways
that can result from construction activities. Though construction began
in 2002, none of the operators applied for a National Pollutant
Discharge Elimination System permit until Feb. 28, 2006.
Rainwater running off construction sites can carry sediments, oil
and other pollutants which contaminate nearby streams, ponds and
rivers. Erosion from a one-acre construction site could discharge as
much as 20 tons to 150 tons of sediment in one year if not properly
managed. Sediments reduce the storage capacity of drains and waterways,
causing flooding and adversely affecting water quality and fish
habitat. Sediments and chemicals can also contribute to fish die-offs,
toxic algae blooms, contaminated shellfish beds and closed swimming