Idaho developer fined for failing to control runoff, violating federal Clean Water Act

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COEUR D'ALENE, ID, June 17, 2009 -- G.F. Barnes Construction Inc. will pay $12,900 for allegedly mismanaging runoff from their Granite Peaks condominium construction site near Sandpoint, Idaho. The alleged violations were observed by federal and state inspectors beginning in April 2005.

The settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) resolves the developer's alleged Clean Water Act violations that included discharging sediment from the construction site into a tributary of Schweitzer Creek and failing to obtain the proper permit under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System.

This permit requires operators of construction sites to conduct regular inspections and implement certain storm water controls in order to protect the nation's waterways from pollutants such as sediment, oil and grease, and concrete washout.

"While many builders and developers are doing the right thing by preventing runoff from their sites, there are some who are ignoring these important storm water requirements," said Jim Werntz, EPA's director of Idaho operations. "We take protecting Idaho waters very seriously. Builders and developers need to get the right permits and implement runoff controls before they start work or, like Barnes Construction, they will face fines."

According to EPA officials, Barnes Construction failed to plan and implement the necessary storm water controls.

Under the Clean Water Act, developers must create Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plans (SWPPP) describing how construction storm water will be controlled at the site. Their plans must also show how their project will prevent sediment and other construction waste from being discharged into nearby streams, rivers or lakes.

>> More information about EPA's storm water permitting program

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