Texas builders working to prevent stormwater pollution

Keeping Texas waterways free of stormwater pollution is the goal behind an agreement signed by the Texas Association of Builders (TAB), Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), and Environmental Protection Agency. The agreement is a national first and commits Texas home building companies to work together with the state and federal agencies to take steps to prevent stormwater pollution...

• Association signs first-of-its-kind agreement in nation with EPA and TCEQ

DALLAS, TX, July 31, 2008 -- Keeping Texas waterways free of stormwater pollution is the goal behind an agreement signed by the Texas Association of Builders (TAB), Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), and Environmental Protection Agency.

The agreement is a national first and commits Texas home building companies to work together with the state and federal agencies to take steps to prevent stormwater pollution.

"Small changes in the way builders do business can make a big difference when it comes to keeping pollution out of stormwater," said EPA Regional Administrator Richard E. Greene. "This project is another great example of how innovative partnerships between EPA, states, and businesses can lead to better ways to protect one of our most valuable liquid assets."

Under the agreement, the three partners will work together on a pilot program to more fully educate, inform, and assist home builders with meeting federal and state stormwater regulations.

Building new homes requires moving a lot of dirt, often tons. When it rains, dirt and other pollutants from construction sites can get swept into storm drains. This runoff generally flows untreated to the nearest waterway, which can lead to water quality problems and harm to fish and plants. Education and assistance with stormwater controls can help home builders reduce stormwater pollution.

"It is gratifying to see government and industry working together voluntarily to protect the environment," said TCEQ Chairman Buddy Garcia. "This agreement will mean better compliance, and that means better protection of our precious water resources."

Today's agreement is expected to be another successful collaboration between the three agencies. Previously, more than 1,300 Texas builders received stormwater compliance training through initiatives developed by TAB, TCEQ and EPA in 2005 and 2007. TAB members that complete training and a self-assessment checklist will be able to display the "Storm Water Self-Certified" sticker on construction permits as part of the agreement. Sites that display the certification sticker would be a lower priority for routine inspections.

"Our membership has worked diligently to comply with state and federal stormwater regulations, and we are honored that our successful training partnership with the EPA and TCEQ has resulted in this historic agreement," said Ron Connally, Texas Association of Builders first vice president. "TAB is committed to providing continuing education to Texas builders to help further reduce stormwater runoff and protect the environment."

For additional information about EPA's stormwater programs: http://www.epa.gov/region6/water/npdes/sw/index.htm.

To learn more about activities in EPA Region 6: http://www.epa.gov/region6.

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