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EPA orders KB Home to cease work at Huntington subdivision

Release Date: 9/14/2004
Contact Information: Wendy L. Chavez, (415) 947-4248

Developer filled tributaries leading to Las Vegas Wash and Lake Mead

SAN FRANCISCO -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last week ordered KB Home to cease unauthorized work in waterways regulated by the federal government.

The EPA recently learned that KB Home graded a 160-acre construction site without the required federal permit at the proposed Huntington subdivision west of Fort Apache Road in southwestern Las Vegas, and filled tributaries leading to the Las Vegas Wash and Lake Mead.

Under the Clean Water Act, a developer must first get a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers before discharging dredged or fill material into regulated waterways.

"Unauthorized discharges of fill material into waterways can cause downstream flooding, degrade water quality, and permanently disturb the environment," said Alexis Strauss, the director of the EPA's Water Division for the Pacific Southwest region. "The Clean Water Act requires developers to comply with permit requirements and take simple, basic steps to prevent pollutants from entering waterways."

In their natural state, desert washes provide many benefits such as drainage and accommodation of flood flows, maintenance of water quality, groundwater recharge and wildlife habitat. Once damaged, these environments are difficult to restore and the benefits are often permanently lost.

While KB Home faces fines up to $32,500 per day per violation if the company fails to comply with the order, discussions are underway between the EPA and the company regarding steps needed to comply with federal environmental laws.

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