Apr 21, 2010

Residential Homebuilder Settles Clean Water Act Violations in 18 States and D.C.

Settlement affects 161 construction sites in Chesapeake Bay watershed

Hovnanian Enterprises, Inc., a builder of residential homes nationwide, has agreed to pay a $1 million civil penalty to resolve alleged Clean Water Act violations at 591 construction sites in 18 states and the District of Columbia, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Justice Department announced. As part of the settlement, the company will also implement a companywide storm water compliance program designed to improve compliance with storm water runoff requirements at existing and future construction sites around the country.

“This case is a result of EPA’s effort to protect local waters by vigorously enforcing the nation’s environmental laws,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator of EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance and Assurance. “Without appropriate onsite pollution controls, sediment-laden runoff from construction sites can pollute local waterways. This enforcement agreement will mean cleaner water for hundreds of communities across the country.”

“Restoring and preserving the Chesapeake Bay is one of EPA’s top priorities, and preventing polluted storm water from entering the bay watershed is vital to keeping it healthy,” said Peter S. Silva, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Water. “This enforcement action will help protect the bay by addressing storm water pollution at the source.”

“This settlement will bring positive change to construction sites in 18 states and the District of Columbia, said Ignacia S. Moreno, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Div. “Harmful storm water runoff from construction sites is something that is easily prevented. The construction industry needs to implement required controls or face the possibility of a federal lawsuit.”

A portion of the settlement helps EPA efforts to protect the Chesapeake Bay, North America’s largest and most biologically diverse estuary. The bay and its tidal tributaries are threatened by pollution from a variety of sources, and overburdened with nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment that can be carried by storm water. A total of 161 Hovnanian construction sites in the District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia fall within the bay watershed and are covered by this settlement.