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Storm Water Inspections in Idaho Result in Numerous Fines

Release Date: 8/24/2005
Contact Information: Kristine Karlson
(206) 553-0290

August 24, 2005

This spring and summer, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 10 conducted storm water inspections at construction sites throughout Idaho. EPA inspected both commercial and residential sites, all of which were required to apply for coverage under EPA’s nationwide storm water Construction General Permit. The permit is meant to protect waterways from sediment, oil and grease, concrete washout and other pollutants that could be discharged from active construction sites. These permit requirements have been in place since 1993 for sites over five acres, and since 2003 for sites between one and five acres.

The inspectors observed violations of the storm water requirements at most of the sites, including failure to adequately plan for and implement erosion and sediment controls; failure to inspect and maintain such controls; and failure to prevent construction site debris and materials from polluting nearby waters. In addition, some operators had failed to even apply for coverage under the Permit.

Through this enforcement effort, we’re helping to prevent polluted construction site runoff from entering lakes, rivers, and streams,” said Kim Ogle, EPA Region 10 water compliance unit manager. “Our efforts are already starting to pay off: the number of construction site operators signing up for the permit has more than doubled, and we're seeing fewer violations than last year.”

According to Jim Werntz, EPA's Idaho Operations Office Director in Boise, this is good news for Idaho. "Meeting storm water permit requirements is crucial to protecting Idaho's water quality," he stated. "This jump in compliance levels is a very positive sign."

The inspections were conducted using the agency’s Construction Storm Water Expedited Settlement Offer (ESO) Policy, which allows EPA to employ a streamlined enforcement process with lower fines for operators who are first-time violators and where several other criteria are also met.

The inspections have so far resulted in five ESO settlements, with penalties ranging from $4,550 to $6,100 for the following construction site operators:
  • Greystone on Payette LLC, McCall, ID, penalty $4,900
  • Big Bite Excavation, Nampa, ID, penalty $4,550
  • Spring Creek Meridian LLC, Eagle ID, penalty $6,100
  • Larkspur LLC, Boise, ID, penalty $4,600
  • Michener Investments, Boise, ID, Penalty $6,050

Some ESO cases not listed above are still awaiting settlement. Other cases could not be dealt with through the ESO process because the violations were more egregious or because site operators had previous violations. Those cases are still under review.

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