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EPA settles storm water cases at construction sites near Anchorage

Release Date: 10/23/2006
Contact Information: Kristine Karlson, (206) 553-0290, Karlson.Kristine@epa.gov Tony Brown, (206) 553-1203, Brown.Anthony@epa.gov

Inadequate storm water management practices still threaten Alaska water quality

(Anchorage, AK – Oct. 23, 2006) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently settled cases with three Anchorage-area construction site operators for storm water control violations. The violations included failure to obtain permit coverage, failure to adequately plan for and implement erosion and sediment controls and failure to inspect and maintain such controls in compliance with the permit.

EPA conducted a series of inspections at construction sites in and around Anchorage last spring; the inspections were to assess compliance with the nationwide storm water Construction General Permit. The permit requires construction site operators (usually developers and general contractors) to conduct regular self-inspections and to use erosion controls and on-site materials management to protect the nation’s waterways from common construction site pollutants like sediment, oil and grease and concrete washout. Without adequate controls, such pollutants can wash into nearby waterways during spring breakup and anytime it rains.

EPA inspectors observed violations at most sites, with a wide range in severity. Penalties for violations ranged from $3,500 - $4,500.

“The compliance rate at construction sites reached a plateau this year,” said Marcia Combes, Director of EPA's Alaska Operations Office in Anchorage. “For the outlook to improve, construction site operators must take responsibility for their sites by adopting appropriate storm water management practices. The techniques are out there, and they should be used. Proper storm water controls are a critical component of protecting Alaska’s water quality.”

Since 2004 when EPA began regularly inspecting construction sites, organizations like the International Erosion Control Association, Associated General Contractors, Homebuilders Association and Department of Environmental Conservation have worked with EPA to provide trainings and compliance information on the Construction General Permit.

As a result of the inspections this year, EPA issued fines to three construction site operators using the Agency’s Construction Storm Water Expedited Settlement Offer (ESO) Policy. The policy allows EPA to streamline the enforcement process for operators who are first-time violators and who have less serious violations. EPA settled cases with the following operators:

  • White Raven Development, Inc. (at the Westpark Subdivision in Anchorage) - $3,650
  • Christensen Builders, Inc. (at the Chandler’s Cove Condos construction site in Anchorage) - $4,400
  • Horseshoe Properties, LLC (at the Hidden Hills Subdivision, Phase II construction site in Eagle River) - $4,600

A number of Notices of Violation were also issued at sites where violations did not meet the ESO criteria. EPA is evaluating the evidence to determine the need for possible enforcement action at these sites.

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