Builder Blamed for Stormwater Pollution Agrees to Pay $85,000 Fine

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has fined a New Jersey development company for its failure to properly control stormwater that ran off the site of the company’s development in Rahway, N.J.

Under federal regulations, developers of sites one acre or larger are required to follow requirements aimed at reducing stormwater because soil and contaminants run off into nearby waterways. The company, Landmark at Rahway LLC, has agreed to pay fines totaling $85,000 for stormwater management violations at the Park Square site in Rahway. The company has since corrected the violations.

The rate at which water carries soil and contaminants off of construction sites is typically 10 to 20 times greater than that from agricultural lands, and 1,000 to 2,000 times greater than those of forest lands. Soil and pollutants carried by uncontrolled stormwater runoff can cause physical and biological harm to waterways, noted EPA.

“Regulations for managing stormwater at a construction site are clear and cost effective,” said Judith Enck, regional administrator for EPA. “It is troubling to witness violations like the ones at Landmark at Rahway’s site. Improper management of stormwater can have serious environmental consequences for our harbors, rivers, lakes and streams, and the violations at the Park Square site in Rahway compromised surrounding waterways.”

The company failed to develop a stormwater pollution prevention plan and, as a result, did not implement and maintain necessary stormwater pollution controls and best management practices. The company also failed to conduct and document weekly site inspections. Establishing and adhering to a stormwater pollution prevention plan is required by the New Jersey Pollutant Discharge Elimination System and the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System programs for construction sites larger than one acre.

Following an EPA inspection, EPA issued an administrative order in December 2008, providing Landmark an opportunity to correct the violations at the 2.5 acre development site in Rahway. A follow-up inspection by EPA in March 2009 found that most of the violations had not been corrected. As a result, EPA sought a penalty later in 2009, and settlement negotiations yielded a cash penalty of $85,000.

Stormwater pollution prevention plans include strategies to control runoff, methods to dispose of construction waste, and descriptions of construction activities. Routine inspections and requirements of federal and state law are meant to assure that a site is properly managing stormwater runoff and fully implementing its stormwater pollution prevention plan.

For more about stormwater discharges from construction activities, visit EPA’s stormwater website at http://cfpub.epa.gov/npdes/stormwater/const.cfm.

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