EPA Region 7 has issued an administrative compliance order to the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT), directing it to correct a series of violations of a stormwater permit issued for the U.S. Highway 59 construction site in Douglas and Franklin counties of Kansas.
EPA inspectors visited the highway construction site in August to evaluate KDOT’s management of stormwater and determine whether it was in compliance with permit requirements. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE), as the permitting authority pursuant to the federal Clean Water Act, issued KDOT a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit for the construction project in June 2007.
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.
EPA’s inspection of the U.S. Highway 59 site found numerous areas where sediment control was inadequate or altogether lacking. Several areas lacked silt fencing, berms or other equivalent means of controlling sediment moved by stormwater runoff. Along the U.S. Highway 59 project, stormwater, snow melt, drainage and runoff carries sediment and contaminants into unnamed tributaries of the West Fork of Tauy Creek and the Wakarusa River.
EPA’s order notes a series of violations by KDOT, including failures to install and properly maintain adequate best management practices to control stormwater; failures to develop, properly implement, update and amend a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP); and failures to adequately document site inspections and comply with site inspection requirements. The order requires KDOT to submit a report to EPA within 30 days, detailing specific actions it has taken to correct the violations.