Idaho Transportation Agency to Pay for Stormwater Violations

The Idaho Transportation Department has agreed to pay $325,000 in stipulated penalties for numerous violations of a Clean Water Act (CWA) Consent Decree, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced recently.

The 2006 Consent Decree was the result of CWA violations by the state agency and its contractor from 2001 to 2003, committed during the "Mica to Bellgrove" Highway 95 realignment project in northern Idaho. In that case, EPA fined the state agency and its contractor a total of $895,000 for numerous stormwater management problems and resulting discharges that harmed the Mica Creek watershed and violated the terms of EPA's Construction General Permit.

"The provisions spelled-out in the Consent Decree were meant to correct the fundamental, systemic problems that led to our initial case," said Elin Miller, EPA's regional administrator in Seattle. "The Construction General Permit for stormwater is a key tool to preventing water pollution and protecting Idaho's lakes, rivers, and streams from polluted construction site runoff."

Under the existing Consent Decree, the state agency must provide stormwater training to its personnel, implement new self-inspection protocols, improve communication with its contractors, and submit an annual report to EPA detailing its compliance. In its first annual report submitted in 2007, the state agency disclosed a large number of violations from 2006.

The additional penalties are largely related to failure by the agency and its contractors to train environmental personnel in a timely way, failure to conduct self-inspections as required, and failure to document compliance with stormwater requirements.