Construction Company Fined for Stormwater Discharges

A Massachusetts developer constructing a public high school on 35 acres adjacent to the Aberjona River will pay a $135,000 penalty for discharging polluted stormwater from its Reading, Mass. construction site and four additional sites in Massachusetts, according to a Dec. 11 press release.

A U.S. Environmental Protection Agency inspection determined that TLT Construction Corp. discharged stormwater containing pollutants from the Reading Memorial High School construction site in Reading since construction began in May 2004 through February 2005, without proper authorization. EPA alleged that the company did not apply for coverage under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) General Permit for Storm Water Discharges from Construction Activities, as required by the federal Clean Water Act.

TLT also failed to amend its Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan when it was shown to be ineffective in eliminating pollutants in stormwater discharges from the site in April 2005, April, May, and June 2007, and February 2008. From March 2005 through January 2007, TLT also failed to complete inspection reports and maintain records of stormwater erosion and sedimentation control inspections. In addition, EPA learned that TLT had failed to file for coverage under the General Permit for Storm Water Discharges from Construction Activities and had discharged stormwater containing pollutants at four additional sites: Pembroke High School in Pembroke, Mass., Needham High School in Needham, Mass., Jacobs Elementary School in Hull, Mass., and North Shore Bank, in Peabody, Mass.

The company obtained coverage under the Construction General Permit and amended its Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP), which describes the best management practices that the company will undertake in order minimize erosion and sediment runoff from the site. Construction of the high school in Reading was completed in August 2008. Construction at the additional four sites has also been completed.

Stormwater running off the site contains sand, dirt, sediment, suspended solids, and residues of construction material. Silt and sediment in the stormwater ran off the site into the Aberjona River, thereby negatively affecting the river's water quality. Construction activities that disturb one acre or more are regulated under the NPDES stormwater program. In Massachusetts, operators of regulated construction sites are required to develop and implement SWPPPs and to obtain permit coverage from EPA prior to commencement of construction activity.