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Four of the nation's largest home builders settle storm water violations

Release Date: 06/11/2008
Contact Information: Phillippa Cannon, 312-353-6218,

No. 08 - OPA105

Chicago, Ill. (June 11, 2008) - Four of the nation's largest home builders, including Pulte Homes in Bloomfield, Mich., have agreed to pay civil penalties totaling $4.3 million to resolve alleged violations of the Clean Water Act, the Justice Department and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today. The agreement includes construction sites in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin. The companies have agreed to implement company-wide compliance programs that go beyond regulatory requirements and put controls in place that will keep 1.2 billion pounds of sediment from polluting the nation's waterways each year.

"EPA requires that construction sites obtain permits and take simple, basic steps to prevent pollutants from contaminating storm water and harming our nation's waterways," said Granta Y. Nakayama, assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. "Today's settlement sets a new bar for the home building industry."

"Today's settlements mark an important step forward in protecting our waters from harmful storm water runoff from construction activities," said Assistant Attorney General Ronald J. Tenpas. "In the future, these homebuilders will implement company-wide compliance programs that will provide better and more consistent protections at their construction sites across the country."

The home builders are Centex Homes, Dallas; KB Homes, Los Angeles; Pulte Homes; and Richmond American Homes, Denver. The four separate settlements resolve alleged violations of storm water run-off regulations at construction sites in 34 states and the District of Columbia.

The government complaints allege a common pattern of violations that was discovered by reviewing documentation submitted by the companies and through federal and state site inspections.

The settlements require the companies to develop improved pollution prevention plans for each site, increase site inspections and promptly correct any problems that are detected.

Improving compliance at construction sites is one of EPA's national enforcement priorities. Without pollution controls in place, construction projects have a high potential to harm the environment because sediment-laden runoff - often containing other pollutants such as concrete washout, paint, used oil, solvents and other debris - can flow directly to waterways and degrade water quality.

The Clean Water Act requires construction sites to have controls in place to prevent pollution from storm water entering nearby waterways. These controls include simple pollution prevention techniques such as silt fences, phased site grading and sediment basins to prevent common construction contaminants from entering water.

A copy of the consent decree is available on the U.S. Department of Justice Web site:

A list of the construction sites covered by these agreements is available at:

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