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EPA Fines Six Municipalities Across Puerto Rico for Improper Stormwater Management

Release Date: 07/22/2009
Contact Information: Contacts: John Senn, (212) 637-3667, senn.john@epa.gov; Brenda Reyes, (787) 977-5869, reyes.brenda@epa.gov

(San Juan, P.R.) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has filed individual complaints against the municipalities of Cayey, Hatillo, Las Piedras, Loiza, Rio Grande and Toa Alta in Puerto Rico for failing to comply with federal Clean Water Act requirements related to stormwater management for small municipal sewer systems. The six municipalities face a total amount of $291,177 in fines.

“In order to prevent harmful discharges from their sewer systems, EPA is forcing these six municipalities to comply with federal clean water laws,” said EPA Acting Regional Administrator George Pavlou. “Discharges from small municipal sewer systems can contaminate drinking water and recreational waterways, impairing these valuable resources.”

EPA ordered the municipalities to comply with stormwater requirements for sewer systems earlier this year after they were unable to provide evidence to EPA of compliance following a request 2007.

Breakdown of fines:



Cayey

$48,920

Hatillo

$48,071

Las Piedras

$47,738

Loíza

$47,409

Río Grande

$49,393

Toa Alta

$49,646

Total

$291,177


The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit program, established under the federal Clean Water Act, controls water pollution by regulating sources that discharge pollutants to waters in the United States. Municipalities are required to apply for NPDES permit coverage in order to operate the sewer systems. Under this permit, operators are required to develop and implement a stormwater management program to reduce the discharge of pollutants to the maximum extent practicable to protect water quality. A total of 70 municipalities in Puerto Rico are currently subject to these requirements.

Municipal stormwater discharges are of concern because they often contain high concentrations of pollutants like fertilizers, pesticides, oil, litter and sediments. Stormwater runoff picks up and transports untreated pollutants into waterways. Municipal stormwater discharges can result in the destruction of habitat, fish mortality, and contamination of drinking water supplies and recreational waterways.

For more about EPA’s municipal storm water permitting program visit: http://cfpub.epa.gov/npdes/stormwater/munic.cfm. Follow EPA Region 2 on Twitter at http://twitter.com/EPAregion2 and Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/eparegion2.

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