The Iowa Department of Transportation (IDOT) and three of its contractors have agreed to pay a $60,000 civil penalty for violating the terms of a stormwater permit issued for the U.S. Highway 30 construction project in Tama County, Iowa.
IDOT, along with JB Holland Construction, Inc., of Decorah, Iowa; Peterson Contractors, Inc., of Reinbeck, Iowa; and Scheckel Construction, Inc., of Bellevue, Iowa; are the respondents named in an administrative consent agreement filed by EPA Region 7 in Kansas City, Kan.
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), as the permitting authority pursuant to the federal Clean Water Act, issued IDOT a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit for the construction project in July 2008, providing coverage through July 2011. The permit, which regards the three contractors as co-permittees, governs stormwater discharges associated with construction or land disturbance activity.
EPA inspectors visited the road construction project in September 2009 and documented several violations of the terms of the NPDES permit. According to the settlement, the respondents failed to properly design, install and maintain best management practices to control construction stormwater runoff. The respondents also failed to develop an adequate Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) and failed to perform and document site inspections as required by their permit.
Stormwater runoff from construction sites can cause significant environmental harm. Construction activities tend to greatly increase runoff and erosion, depositing increased amounts of sediment into nearby waters. In addition to sediment, stormwater that flows over construction sites can pick up other pollutants such as debris, pesticides, petroleum residues, chemicals, solvents, asphalts and acids, all of which can contribute to water quality problems.
Stormwater, snow melt, drainage and runoff carries sediment and contaminants from the U.S. Highway 30 construction site into Tama Mud Creek and an unnamed tributary, which flow into the Iowa River.
By agreeing to the settlement, the respondents have certified that the site is now in compliance with all pertinent requirements of the federal Clean Water Act.