Alaska DOT Facilities to Pay for Alleged CWA Violations

The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (ADOT) has agreed to pay nearly $1 million to resolve allegations that it violated the Clean Water Act at numerous sites in Alaska, the Justice Department and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced on June 2.

Two of ADOT contractors also entered into settlement agreements with the federal government and have agreed to pay more than a quarter of a million dollars in civil penalties.

Under a settlement agreement filed with the federal court in Anchorage, Alaska, ADOT has agreed to pay $850,000 for acquisition and permanent protection of riverbanks on the Kenai Peninsula. The money will be transferred to the Kachemak Heritage Land Trust to protect water quality and salmon habitat in the watersheds where the alleged violations occurred. ADOT will also pay a $140,000 civil penalty. The settlement also requires both ADOT and its contractors to implement a comprehensive stormwater quality training program for its employees.

According to a complaint filed simultaneously with the settlement, in the summer and fall of 2005 and 2006, ADOT through its contractors violated stormwater pollution and prevention provisions of the Clean Water Act by failing to implement and maintain best management practices at three sites including the Abbott Loop extension and the C Street extension project in Anchorage as well as the construction of the Kenai Bridge on the Sterling Highway in Soldotna.

The complaint also alleges that, in the fall of 2002, ADOT placed fill material into waters at more than 10 construction sites on the Kenai Peninsula without a permit as required by the Clean Water Act. The work took place following two large floods.

Additionally, the two ADOT contractors have agreed to pay civil penalties and undertake various remedial actions to resolve the government’s claims. Colaska Inc., formerly Quality Asphalt and Paving (QAP), the contractor for the C Street project in Anchorage, has agreed to pay a $50,000 civil penalty. Granite Construction Company, the successor to Wilder Construction Co., which was the contractor for the Kenai River Bridge project in Soldotna and the Abbott Loop Extension in Anchorage, has agreed to pay a $250,000 civil penalty. Both companies have agreed to train critical employees, and increase the frequency and quality of inspections at active projects, and ensure compliance with stormwater regulations.

The settlement was lodged in the U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska and is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval.

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