JANUARY 2009

Massachusetts construction and excavating companies fined for clean water violations

Two Massachusetts’ residential construction companies and an excavating company have agreed to a settlement of $110,000 for violation of the federal Clean Water Act (CWA) including a $50,000 cash penalty and a $60,000 supplemental environmental project (SEP).

The companies’ violations include illegal storm water discharges from a construction site and violation of the Federal Construction General Permit for stormwater discharges.

The three companies, Alden Woods, Inc., C.B. Blair Development, and McManus Excavating, are developing a subdivision in Holden, Massachusetts. Sediment laden storm water was repeatedly observed discharging from the construction site to a nearby brook, which is ranked as a “Class A” waterway by Massachusetts. Class A waters are designated by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection as a source of public water supply. The companies failed to install and maintain controls sufficient to prevent the muddy discharges to the stream.

On top of the cash penalty, the companies will convey a 5.57 acre parcel primarily comprised of wetlands as their SEP, and donate it to a land preservation entity. The wetlands parcel also contains swamp forest and two small upland areas.

Because they are operators of a site disturbing more than one acre, the companies were required to apply for either an individual permit or a promulgated General Permit for Storm Water Discharges from Construction Activities. The permit requires the use of “best management practices” to prevent erosion and sedimentation of waterways that can result from construction activities. Though construction began in 2002, none of the operators applied for a NPDES permit until February 2006.