U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 7 has cited six home developers and one commercial developer in the Kansas City area for violations of federal storm-water regulations. EPA has ordered these developers to take immediate actions to minimize erosion, and has assessed penalties.
EPA inspected seven construction sites on the Kansas side of the Kansas City area in 2004 and took enforcement actions for sites in Overland Park, Lenexa, Shawnee, Bonner Springs, and Kansas City, Kans. The last of these enforcement cases was finalized June 20, 2005. (EPA inspected Kansas City, Mo., construction sites in 2003.)
Our enforcement actions to bring these seven Kansas City area developers into compliance will prevent more than 10.5 million pounds of sediment from washing into our streams, rivers and lakes. These violators must pay penalties totaling more than $96,500.
One or more of the following violations occurred at each construction site: failure to obtain a storm-water permit; failure to follow practices that minimize runoff; and failure to conduct site inspections.
We hope these actions by EPA will result in greater compliance and improved water quality by sending a clear message to the construction industry about the importance of controlling storm-water runoff.
Regulations that require construction sites to prevent water pollution have existed for more than 10 years. However, compliance within the construction industry remains poor.
During the past year, EPA Region 7 has sent a team of inspectors to the largest, fastest-growing metropolitan areas in our four-state region (Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska), including the Kansas City area.
These enforcement actions are part of a national effort by EPA to reduce the damage to water bodies caused by erosion at large construction sites.
Urban storm-water runoff from construction sites is a significant environmental concern, and siltation is one of the worst pollution problems in our nation’s water bodies. Construction activity greatly increases erosion and runoff, which can choke our streams and lakes with sediment.
Sediment-laden runoff destroys spawning beds, suffocates fish eggs and bottom-dwelling organisms, decreases oxygen levels in streams, and blocks sunlight that is essential for the growth of beneficial water grasses.
In addition to sediment, storm-water runoff can carry high levels of pollutants such as oil and grease, suspended solids, nutrients, and heavy metals. Polluted storm-water runoff is a leading cause of impairment to the nearly 40% of surveyed U.S. water bodies that do not meet water quality standards.