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Two Massachusetts Companies Face Fines for Clean Water Act Violations

Release Date: 06/22/2010
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Boston, Mass. – June 22, 2010) – Discharges of muddy storm water from a construction site, in violation of the federal Clean Water Act, has prompted EPA to file an enforcement action seeking penalties against two companies constructing a residential development in Ayer, Mass.

EPA’s New England regional office has issued a complaint under the federal Clean Water Act to Crabtree Development, LLC of Ayer, Mass. and R.A. Powell Construction Corp. of Lunenberg, Mass. for unauthorized storm water discharges from a construction site.

Crabtree Development is the developer of a residential development called Pingry Hill in Ayer, and Powell is the general contractor. On two separate occasions in 2009, an EPA inspector observed that storm water contaminated with sand, dirt, sediment, suspended solids, residues of construction material and turbidity was running off the site into adjoining waters and wetlands.

Because they are operators of a site disturbing more than one acre, the companies were required to apply for either an individual permit or a promulgated General Permit for Storm Water Discharges from Construction Activities. The permit requires the use of “best management practices” to prevent erosion and sedimentation of waterways that can result from construction activities.

Though construction began in 2007, neither company had submitted a Notice of Intent for coverage under the NPDES Construction General Permit until Crabtree Development did so in January 2010 (following the EPA inspections). EPA’s complaint seeks a penalty of up to $177,500 for the violations.

Rainwater running off construction sites can carry sediments, oil and other pollutants which contaminate nearby streams, ponds and rivers. Erosion from a one-acre construction site could discharge as much as 20 to 150 tons of sediment in one year if not properly managed. Sediments reduce the storage capacity of drains and waterways, causing flooding and adversely affecting water quality and fish habitat. Sediments and chemicals can also contribute to fish die-offs, toxic algae blooms, contaminated shellfish beds and closed swimming beaches.

More information:

EPA Storm Water Permit Program in New England (www.epa.gov/region1/npdes/stormwater)

Enforcing Clean Water requirements in New England (www.epa.gov/region01/enforcement/water)

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