Boston, Mass. -- A company hired under contract by the Massachusetts Dept. of Transportation (MassDOT), J.H. Lynch & Sons, Inc., will pay a penalty of $55,000 in settlement for EPA allegations that they violated a Clean Water Act Permit at a road construction project in Bellingham, Mass.
According to the complaint, because they are operators of a site disturbing more than one acre, MassDOT and Lynch were required to apply for either an individual permit or coverage under a 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.
MassDOT and J.H. Lynch & Sons allegedly failed to install and maintain best management practices sufficient to minimize discharge of pollutants to the Peters River and Arnolds Brook. During an inspection of the construction project, EPA observed insufficient storm water control measures and discharges of muddy storm water from the construction project discharging to both the Peters River and Arnolds Brook as a result of the absence of and the inadequacy of control measures.
J.H. Lynch & Sons will pay the $55,000 penalty, and MassDOT has confirmed that the department has taken proactive steps to avoid this type of situation in the future.
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.
To assist developers and builders into coming into compliance, EPA has developed written materials, web sites, workshops, and other products to help those involved in construction projects understand how to comply with storm water laws.
EPA Storm Water Permit Program in New England (www.epa.gov/region1/npdes/stormwater)
EPA enforcing Clean Water requirements (http://www.epa.gov/enforcement/water/index.html)