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MA and NH Developers Agree to Pay Penalties for Storm Water Violations; Cases are Part of EPA Push to Improve Storm Water Compliance by Builders
Release Date: 01/25/2006
Contact Information: Sheryl Rosner, Office of Public Affairs, 617-918-1865
BOSTON – Four developers have agreed to pay the US Environmental Protection Agency a total of $41,025 in penalties for storm water-related violations that took place at construction projects in Framingham, Swansea and Topsfield, Mass. and Hudson, NH. The settlements were negotiated under EPA’s Expedited Settlement Offer program for storm water violations at New England construction sites.
The settlements stem from construction projects that occurred without the necessary permits and pollution controls in place for curbing storm water runoff from construction sites. The violations were discovered during EPA inspections at the sites between August 2004 and July 2005.
“These cases make clear that EPA is serious about enforcing storm water regulations,” said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “We must control storm water runoff from construction sites to protect our vital wetlands and waterways.”
EPA regulations require a permit for construction sites that disturb more than one acre of land. The storm water permit seeks to protect waters from harmful pollutants that typically run off such sites and discharge into nearby waters. The permit requires that operators of a construction site develop a detailed management plan for minimizing the effects of storm water runoff.
Contractors, developers and others who are responsible for day-to-day operations at a construction site are required to certify that they will properly implement these plans, called storm water pollution prevention plans. The permit also requires personnel who are on the sites to perform regular inspections of storm water controls and to employ management techniques that will minimize the impact of their activities on nearby waters.
The four cases announced today are as follows:
• McCarron Development Corp. in Lakeville, Mass. agreed to pay $14,600 to settle claims it did not apply for the necessary construction permit after starting construction in January 2003 at the Sunnyfield Farms site in Swansea, Mass. The project will disturb 30 acres of land. Storm waters from the site discharge to adjacent wetlands that drain through a series of brooks and ponds into the Cole River. Inspectors found that the developer: had not prepared a Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan until September 2004; had failed to conduct and document inspections; and had not provided interim stabilization. Furthermore, storm water plans did not provide dates of major construction milestones. McCarron did not apply for a permit until August 2004, EPA said.
• Albermarle Realty Corp. in Natick, Mass. agreed to pay $10,700 to settle claims it failed to develop and put in place a storm water plan at a construction site in Framingham that is the future home of 20 single family homes in the Brimstone Estates. The case grew out of an unannounced inspection Nov. 16, 2004. EPA found: the developer had not conducted or documented inspections; the site’s entrance was not stabilized, leaving soils moving off-site and into a public way; catch basins at the site entrance did not have sediment protection barriers; soils for a certain detention basin and an adjacent embankment were exposed, and stabilization measures were not initiated before the ground froze. At the time, four acres of land were disturbed. The project will ultimately disturb 28 acres. Storm waters from this site discharge to an adjacent wetland that drains to Hop Brook and ultimately flows into the Sudbury River.
• Thibeault Corporation of New England, based in Londonderry, NH, agreed to pay $8,650 to settle claims it failed to put in place storm water plans required at a construction site in Hudson, NH, that is the future home of 180 buildings and 400 residential units. According to EPA, Thibeault failed to fully develop and implement a Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan required by its construction permit at its 60-acre development in Hudson. Thibeault also failed to document that it had done “best management practice” inspections at this site. It disturbed about 30 acres of land during construction. Storm water from the site drains into a brook along Route 111 and a pond across Kimball Hill Road. EPA discovered the violations during an August 2004 inspection. The company was also charged with discharging pollutants without a permit.
• Spring-T Realty Trust of Topsfield, Mass. agreed to pay $7,075 to settle claims it violated its Storm Water General Permit for Construction Activities at the Skyview Estates construction site in Topsfield, future home of 40 residential, single-family townhouses. EPA’s New England office inspected the site on July 25, 2005 and found 2.5 acres of land had been disturbed. Eventually the project will disturb 21 acres. Storm waters from the site discharge to adjacent wetlands, which drain to an unnamed stream that in turn flows into the Putnamville Reservoir. EPA inspectors found that: the developer had not documented inspections; control measures were not installed according to the Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (the infiltration ponds were too deep, below the groundwater table); and two drainage ditches were blocked with sediment. Also, the site's storm water plan did not: describe controls that will be in place after construction ends; identify operators on the site; provide dates of major construction milestones, or contain a signature or certification.
EPA’s New England Office began implementing an Expedited Settlement Offer program for storm water violations associated with construction activities in 2004. The program is designed to supplement traditional administrative and judicial enforcement options. This program provides EPA with the authority to assess expedited penalties to developers for violating federal regulations for storm water discharges from their construction sites.
Rainwater running off construction sites can carry nutrients, sediments, oils and various other pollutants into nearby streams, ponds and rivers. If not properly managed, erosion from a one-acre construction site could discharge as much as 20 to 150 tons of sediment in one year. Sediments reduce the storage capacity of drains and waterways, causing flooding, and adversely affect water quality and fish habitat. Sediments and chemicals can also contribute to fish die-offs, toxic algae blooms, contaminated shellfish beds and closed swimming beaches.
EPA has developed written materials, web sites, workshops and other products to help those involved in construction projects understand how to comply with storm water laws. For more information on how to comply with those rules, visit the agency’s web site at https://www.epa.gov/region1/topics/water/stormwater.html
Developers seeking further assistance can contact Abby Swaine at 617-918-1841 or email@example.com.