PHILADELPHIA — Turner Construction Co., an international builder based in New York City, and its subsidiary Tompkins Builders, Inc. of Washington, D.C., agreed to pay $270,000 in civil penalties for alleged violations of federal stormwater regulations at construction sites throughout the mid-Atlantic region, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced.
On Aug. 27, 2012 EPA filed two Consent Agreements and Final Orders alleging that Turner and Tompkins violated their Clean Water Act permits allowing for the discharge of stormwater from construction sites, and in other instances discharged construction stormwater without permits. The alleged violations occurred at 17 construction sites the companies operated in Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C. Fifteen of these sites are located in the Chesapeake Bay watershed and two are in the Delaware River watershed.
Turner and Tompkins operated these sites for clients including federal and local governments, the Department of Defense, universities and other organizations. A construction project at Prince George’s Community College Center for Health Studies is among them, in which case unfiltered basin water flowed, absent a permit, to the storm sewer system that discharges to the Western Branch of the Patuxent River.
In the mid-Atlantic region, Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania are authorized to issue CWA stormwater permits with oversight from EPA; stormwater permits in the District of Columbia are issued by EPA.
In general, the permits in this case required the companies to install controls to prevent pollutants, such as sediment, debris, and chemicals, from being discharged in stormwater into nearby waterways. These controls may include common-sense safeguards such as silt fences, phased site grading, and sediment basins to prevent construction contaminants from polluting waterways.
EPA’s complaint includes allegations that at various sites the companies failed to:
• Perform or properly document required site inspections;
• Maintain structures and controls designed to prevent polluted stormwater from reaching streams; and,
• Obtain CWA permits prior to beginning construction.
EPA worked closely with state and local environmental agencies to detect and resolve these violations. State and local personnel conducted numerous field inspections, and the agencies shared technical and legal expertise. EPA required Turner and Tompkins to provide extensive documentation concerning their construction activities at numerous locations.
In addition to paying civil penalties, Turner and Tompkins entered into an earlier settlement requiring the companies to implement a program to assure future compliance with federal construction stormwater requirements.
As part of the settlement, the companies did not admit liability for the alleged violations. View a copy of the consent agreement at www.epa.gov/reg3wapd/npdes/enforcement.html.