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EPA Settles Clean Water Act Violations at Three Chesapeake Construction Sites - Contractor, Landowners Agree to Restore Acres of Wetlands and Pay Penalties
Release Date: 7/8/2003
Contact Information: Bonnie Smith, 215-814-5543
Bonnie Smith, 215-814-5543
PHILADELPHIA – More than 24 acres of wetlands will be restored as part of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency settlement in three Clean Water Act cases involving construction sites in Chesapeake, Va. – the Joliffe Road School construction site, and the Willow Lakes and the Emerald Woods residential developments.
Last month, EPA signed consent agreements with Vico Construction Corp., the building contractor at all three sites, and with Cavalier Investment Co., owner of the Willow Lakes site. Last year, EPA settled its cases against Chesapeake Industrial Development Authority, owner of the Joliffe Road School construction site. Last year, EPA also settled with the owner of the Emerald Woods residential development.
“We are pleased that these cases are resolved, making clear that the destruction of protected wetlands will not be tolerated. The restoration of 24.18 acres of wetlands is a positive outcome,” said Donald S. Welsh, EPA mid-Atlantic regional administrator.
The alleged violations in these cases involved the illegal filling, ditching, or draining of more than12 acres of protected wetlands, as well as violations of regulations designed to reduce contaminated storm water runoff . In consent agreements with EPA, Vico and the property owners have agreed to pay total penalties of $9,000, and restore 24.18 acres of wetlands.
Under the Clean Water Act, a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permit is required before dredged or fill material may be discharged into wetlands or waterways. The permit requirement is designed to minimize the destruction of these natural resources, which serve a number of critical environmental and economic functions -- including flood control, water filtration, and wildlife habitat. The Clean Water Act also requires owners or operators of construction and industrial sites of five acres or more to obtain a storm water discharge permit, which includes a storm water pollution prevention plan. The purpose is to reduce contaminated runoff, which may contain pollutants such as oil and grease, hazardous chemicals, and nutrients.
In settlement papers, the settling parties neither admitted nor denied the violations alleged by EPA, but have certified current compliance with Clean Water Act requirements. The following is a summary:
Joliffe Road: In January 2001, EPA cited Vico Construction and Chesapeake Industrial Development Authority for constructing ditches and filling in about three acres of wetlands with wood chips without a required permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. These parties also did not have a required storm water permit for the six acre construction site, which discharged runoff into Baily Creek. The alleged violations occurred in August-September 1999.
In settlement, Vico Construction has agreed to pay a $2,000 penalty and purchase and preserve 1.5 acres in the Great Dismal Swamp restoration bank, a wetlands protection and recovery program in Chesapeake, Va. The company also agreed to prepare storm water pollution prevention plans for future construction activities.
Willow Lakes: In May 2001, EPA cited Vico Construction and Cavalier Investment Co. for the unpermitted ditching and filling of more than five acres of wetlands at the Willow Lakes construction site, located near Willow Road and Lake Shore Drive. Violations allegedly occurred from Nov.1998 to Feb. 2000. EPA also alleged that the parties did not implement a required storm water pollution prevention plan for runoff discharges to Goose Creek.
In settlement, Vico Construction and Cavalier have agreed to pay a $5,000 penalty, and restore 21.18 acres of wetlands in the Culpepper mitigation site, a wetlands restoration project in Chesapeake, Va. The parties also pledged to comply with storm water pollution prevention requirements in future construction activities.
Emerald Woods: In January 2001, EPA cited Vico Construction and landowner for Emerald Woods for the unpermitted ditching, dredging, and filling of 4.2 acres of wetlands at the 5.4 acre Emerald Woods construction site, located north of Dock Landing Road. These parties were also cited for failing to obtain a storm water discharge permit for the site, which drains to a tributary of Goose Creek.
In settlement, Vico has agreed to pay a $2,000 penalty and set aside an additional 1.5 acres in the Great Dismal Swamp restoration bank. Last year, EPA settled with the Emerald Woods property owner, who has restored the damaged wetlands.
More information about wetlands and permitting requirements is at https://www.epa.gov/owow/wetlands/ and information about stormwater pollution prevention is at www.epa.gov/npdes/stormwater