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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Denver office collected penalties totaling $426,256 by settling cases against 12 companies that violated federal stormwater regulations under the Clean Water Act while performing seven major construction projects in the greater Denver Metro area.
Seven of the 12 violators are Colorado companies; however, all of the companies are doing business in Colorado.
The stormwater regulations protect waterways from becoming polluted with runoff, such as sediment and debris, from construction sites. Stormwater runoff from construction activities is a major contributor to water quality impairment. Stormwater runoff can carry high levels of pollutants such as sediment, oil and grease, suspended solids, nutrients and heavy metals.
Urban stormwater runoff was found to be a source of pollution in 13% of impaired rivers and streams and 2% of impaired lakes, according to EPA’s 1998 Report to Congress. Sediment is the largest cause of water quality impairment in rivers and can have a negative effect on aquatic life.
The enforcement actions were taken in July 2003 for failure to obtain a stormwater permit, failure to develop or implement a stormwater management plan, failure to implement or maintain appropriate best management practices to minimize runoff, and failure to conduct site inspections. Not complying with these requirements may result in runoff from the construction site adversely impacting water bodies.
"Stormwater requirements have been in place for over 10 years. Developers, builders, and construction contractors must share responsibility to ensure compliance with the storm water regulations," said Carol Rushin, Assistant Regional Administrator for EPA Region 8 Office of Enforcement, Compliance, and Environmental Justice. "Compliance with these regulations is important to protect our scarce water resources."