EPA fines San Diego developer $60,000 for stormwater violations

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today it has fined Colrich Communities Inc. $60,000 for stormwater pollution violations at the Redhawk development, an 80 acre subdivision near Temecula, California.

Jan 3rd, 2001

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., Dec. 29, 2000 — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today it has fined Colrich Communities Inc. $60,000 for stormwater pollution violations at the Redhawk development, an 80 acre subdivision near Temecula, California.

Colrich Communities is being cited for the following violations:

Sediment controls, such as sediment basins and sand bags, were ineffective in preventing sediment laden runoff during active grading of the site.

Bare soil areas excessively eroded and discharged sediment from the site as a result of a lack of erosion control measures before the start of the rainy season.

A stormwater pollution prevention plan was not properly developed and implemented.

"This penalty could have been avoided if the developer had used effective sediment and erosion controls," said Alexis Strauss, director of the Water Division in the U.S. EPA's Pacific Southwest Office. "Land owners, developers and their contractors have a long-standing legal obligation to maintain management practices that ensure sediment in stormwater does not pollute waterways."

For sites 5 acres or larger, the federal Clean Water Act requires that developers and contractors implement stormwater pollution prevention plans that include effective erosion and sediment control measures so that sediment discharges do not increase above what normally occurs prior to grading.

During active grading, stormwater must be detained to prevent sediment discharges. During construction, temporary erosion control products such as seed, mulch, and rolled blankets or other suitable ground cover must be installed over inactive bare areas. Recent studies have shown that these erosion control products reduce erosion by about 80 percent.

Sediment from construction sites can clog up city storm drains or end up in streams and rivers, choking plant and animal life. Many pollutants such as oil and grease from various sources also bind to sediments, and are then transported into waterways along with the sediment.

EPA investigators inspected the site in 1997 and again in 1998 after the California Regional Water Quality Control Board in San Diego had issued two earlier violation notices that went unheeded.

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