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EPA FINES REDDING DEVELOPERS $60,000 FOR STORMWATER VIOLATIONS
Release Date: 12/4/2000
Contact Information: Leo Kay, U.S. EPA Press Office, 415/744-2201
Violations Endangered Salmon Habitats
SAN FRANCISCO The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency fined two developers $60,000 today for stormwater pollution violations at the Buena Ventura Boulevard Extension in Redding, Calif. that resulted in large amounts of sediment and silt runoff into Sacramento River tributaries.
Jaxon Enterprises, Inc. and Creative Living are being cited for poor erosion and sediment control at a 74-acre subdivision Stanford Hills and River Knolls being built near Keswick Dam in northwest Redding. While the project construction was delayed several years, a rough- graded roadway and a large cleared area were left exposed to winter rains with no effective temporary erosion cover and minimal sediment control measures. As a result, large amounts of silt and sediment were discharged into Harland Creek, endangering a local salmon habitat.
For sites 5 acres or larger, the federal Clean Water Act requires that developers and contractors maintain and implement stormwater pollution prevention plans that include erosion and sediment control measures, and an inspection program that ensures these measures are maintained and improved as needed.
"Our penalty could have been avoided if both effective erosion and sediment control had been implemented and maintained on this site," said Alexis Strauss, director of the Water Division in the U.S. EPA's Pacific Southwest Office. "Land owners, developers and their contractors have a long-standing legal obligation to maintain management practices for both erosion control, the primary means of keeping soil in place, and sediment control, a secondary means to ensure that sediment in stormwater does not pollute waterways during the build-out process."
During construction, the Clean Water Act requires that temporary erosion control products such as seeding, mulch, and rolled blankets or other suitable ground cover must be installed over inactive rough or final graded areas. A recent study conducted at Shasta College in Redding, along with other studies, have shown that these types of products reduce erosion by about 80 percent as compared to bare soil. Sediment control devices, such as desilting basins, generally provide a minimal barrier to trap sediment leaving a site and cannot be relied on as the sole method of compliance.
Jaxon and Creative Living are being cited for the following violations:
An exposed rough-graded roadway, cut slopes and other cleared areas excessively eroded and discharged into Harland Creek as a result of a lack of erosion control measures before the start of the rainy season.
Sediment controls, such as hay bales, silt fences and berms, were ineffective in preventing sediment runoff.
A stormwater pollution prevention plan was not properly implemented.
Sediment from construction sites often ends up in streams and rivers, choking plant and animal life and filling in salmon spawning gravels. Many pollutants such as oil and grease from various sources also bind to sediments, and are then transported into waterways along with the sediment.
EPA investigators inspected the site in 1998 and again in 1999 after the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board had issued two earlier violation notices that went unheeded.