Dave Ryan (News Media Only)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 20, 2010
Residential Homebuilder Settles Clean Water Act Violations in 18 States and D.C.
Settlement affects 161 construction sites in
WASHINGTON — Hovnanian Enterprises, Inc., a builder of residential homes nationwide, has agreed today to pay a $1 million civil penalty to resolve alleged Clean Water Act violations at 591 construction sites in 18 states and the
“This case is a result of EPA’s effort to protect local waters by vigorously enforcing the nation’s environmental laws,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator of EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance and Assurance. “Without appropriate onsite pollution controls, sediment-laden runoff from construction sites can pollute local waterways. This enforcement agreement will mean cleaner water for hundreds of communities across the country.”
“Restoring and preserving the Chesapeake Bay is one of EPA’s top priorities, and preventing polluted stormwater from entering the bay watershed is vital to keeping it healthy,” said Peter S. Silva, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Water. “This enforcement action will help protect the bay by addressing stormwater pollution at the source.”
“This settlement will bring positive change to construction sites in 18 states and the
A portion of the settlement helps EPA efforts to protect the Chesapeake Bay,
The settlement requires Hovnanian to develop improved pollution prevention plans for each construction site, conduct additional site inspections and promptly correct any problems detected. The company must properly train construction managers and contractors, and will be required to designate trained staff for each site. Hovnanian must also implement a management and internal reporting system to improve oversight of on-the-ground operations and submit annual reports to EPA.
The Clean Water Act requires that construction sites have controls in place to prevent pollution from being discharged with storm water into 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 the nation’s waterways.
Improving compliance at construction sites is one of EPA’s national enforcement initiatives. Construction projects have a high potential for environmental harm because they disturb large areas of land and significantly increase the potential for erosion. Without onsite pollution controls, sediment-laden runoff from construction sites can flow directly to the nearest waterway and degrade water quality. In addition, storm water can pick up other pollutants, including concrete washout, paint, used oil, pesticides, solvents and other debris. Polluted runoff can harm or kill fish and wildlife, degrade aquatic habitat, and affect drinking water quality.
This settlement is the latest in a series of enforcement actions to address storm water violations from construction sites around the country. Similar consent decrees have been reached with multiple national and regional home building companies.
Along with the federal government, the
The consent decree, lodged in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, is subject to a 30-day public comment period and approval by the federal court.
More information on the settlement:
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