Concrete Supplier Agrees to Pay $740,000 Penalty to Resolve Clean Water Act Violations in Five States
Lafarge North America Inc., one of the largest suppliers of construction materials in the United States and Canada, and four of its U.S. subsidiaries have agreed to resolve alleged Clean Water Act violations. The violations include unpermitted discharges of stormwater and failure to comply with stormwater permits at 21 stone, gravel, sand, asphalt and ready-mix concrete facilities in Alabama, Colorado, Georgia, Maryland and New York. Stormwater flowing over concrete manufacturing facilities can carry debris, sediment and pollutants including pesticides, petroleum products, chemicals and solvents, which can have a significant impact on water quality.
Lafarge will implement a nationwide evaluation and compliance program at 189 of its similar facilities in the United States to ensure they meet Clean Water Act requirements. Lafarge will also pay a penalty of $740,000 and implement two supplemental environmental projects, in which the company will complete conservation easements to protect approximately 166 acres in Maryland and Colorado. The value of the land has been appraised at $2.95 million. Lafarge will also implement one state environmentally beneficial project to support environmental training for state inspectors. The state project is valued at $10,000.
The comprehensive evaluation will include a compliance review of each facility’s permit, an inventory of all discharges to U.S. waters and identification of all best management practices in place. In addition, Lafarge must identify an environmental vice president responsible for coordinating oversight of compliance with stormwater requirements, at least two environmental directors and several environmental managers to oversee stormwater compliance at each operation, and an onsite operations manager at each facility. The U.S. estimates that Lafarge will spend approximately $8 million over five years to develop and maintain this compliance program.
The company will also develop and implement an extensive management, training, inspection and reporting system to increase oversight of its operations and compliance with stormwater requirements at all facilities that it owns and/or operates .
“Owners and operators of industrial facilities must take the necessary measures to comply with stormwater regulations under the Clean Water Act, which protects America’s rivers, lakes and sources of drinking water from harmful contamination,” said Ignacia S. Moreno, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “The system-wide management controls and training that this settlement requires from Lafarge and its subsidiaries will result in better management practices and a robust compliance program at hundreds of facilities throughout the nation that will prevent harmful stormwater runoff.”
“EPA is committed to protecting America’s waters from polluted stormwater runoff,” said Cynthia Giles, Assistant Administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “Today’s settlement will improve stormwater management at facilities across the nation, preventing harmful pollutants from being swept into local waterways.”
The complaint, filed in federal court with the settlement, alleges a pattern of violations since 2006 that were discovered after several federal inspections at the company’s facilities. The alleged violations included unpermitted discharges, violations of effluent limitations, inadequate management practices, inadequate or missing records and practices regarding stormwater compliance and monitoring, inadequate discharge monitoring and reporting, inadequate stormwater pollution prevention plans and inadequate stormwater training.