Lenexa, Kan. -- The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) has agreed to implement a statewide compliance program and to pay a $750,000 civil penalty to settle alleged violations of the Clean Water Act at two road construction sites. The sites are Highway 54 in Osage Beach, and on Highway 67 between Coldwater and Silva.
EPA Region 7 inspected the sites in 2010 and 2011 and documented serious erosion control issues at both sites. Inspectors identified violations at the sites including failing to install or implement adequate stormwater control measures, neglecting to repair those that were installed, failing to develop a sufficient pollution prevention plan and update the plan as appropriate, and unsatisfactory record-keeping and self-inspections. The inspections arose from complaints received from Osage Beach residents with concerns that construction at the site resulted in the deposit of mud and sediment on nearby properties, and that water turbidity and associated sedimentation could harm aquatic life.
“Road construction projects can generate significant quantities of stormwater runoff resulting in environmental damage if not properly managed,” said Acting EPA Region 7 Administrator Mark Hague. “The terms of this agreement ensure that the Missouri Department of Transportation will complete their work projects with appropriate plans, procedures and personnel to protect the environment.”
As a part of this settlement, MoDOT has agreed to complete significant injunctive relief. The consent decree requires MoDOT to establish a stormwater compliance management structure to increase oversight in erosion control, including: a stormwater compliance manager to oversee stormwater compliance statewide, a stormwater compliance manager for each construction project, environmental construction inspectors for each project, and implementation of an electronic stormwater compliance database to track the correction of stormwater deficiencies identified during self-inspections.
The consent decree also requires a stormwater training program for employees, and third-party oversight inspections, which require a consultant or MoDOT inspector not affiliated with the project to conduct additional inspections at environmentally sensitive areas in Missouri. The consent decree defines environmentally sensitive areas as areas that provide critical habitat for threatened or endangered species, or those where the downstream water body is impaired by sediment.
The consent decree is subject to a 30-day public comment period and approval by the federal court. Once it is published in the Federal Register, a copy of the consent decree will be available on the Justice Department website at www.usdoj.gov/enrd/Consent_Decrees.html.