U.S. EPA Orders Developer to Comply with Clean Water Act

Feb. 25, 2004
San Diego-Area Developer Ordered to Correct Violations of Stormwater Permit

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ordered a San Diego-area developer to correct violations of federal stormwater requirements observed during construction of a new housing development in Chula Vista, Calif. Failure to comply with the order could result in fines of up to $27,500 per day.

The EPA ordered the Pulte Home Corporation, based in Michigan, to immediately comply with the Clean Water Act's stormwater requirements at its new housing project, Eastlake III Vista, 1312 N. Paradise Ridgeway.

During an inspection last November, state and federal officials observed that concrete washout basins were overflowing, pollutants from the site were not prevented from running into storm water inlets, and the majority of the site did not have any controls in place to prevent erosion.

"Runoff from construction projects can pose a serious threat to water quality," 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 contaminating stormwater."

As stormwater flows over construction sites, it can pick up pollutants like sediment, debris and chemicals. Polluted stormwater runoff can harm or kill fish and wildlife. Sedimentation can destroy aquatic habitats and high volumes of runoff can cause stream bank erosion.

The state's San Diego office issued notices of violation to Pulte Homes in November, December and February in response to the stormwater violations.

The EPA's order requires Pulte Homes to correct these violations, submit a revised pollution prevention plan, and to provide documentation indicating that the violations have been corrected.

The EPA's stormwater program requires that all construction projects larger than one acre to obtain a permit to discharge stormwater by applying for coverage under California's general construction permit for stormwater.

Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency