Another reminder of the importance of complying with stormwater permitting requirements at construction sites- the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) recently settled with Puerto Rican developers for a hefty $500,000 penalty.

F&R Contractors Corp. and F&R Contractors LLC allegedly committed numerous violations of the Clean Water Act at various construction sites in Puerto Rico during a four-year period. These alleged violations include:

  • Commencing construction activities before obtaining necessary permits
  • Inadequate Stormwater Pollution Prevent Plans (SWPPPs)
  • Failure to implement and update SWPPPs
  • Failure to conduct necessary site inspections

As is often the case, USEPA’s original complaint sought to assess penalties for each day of each violation (in this case, at $32,500 per day for more than 3,000 days of violations).

On May 27, F&R entered into a settlement agreement with USEPA. F&R agreed to pay a $500,000 penalty, overhaul its Stormwater Pollution Prevent Plans, add Stormwater Compliance Managers to conduct regular inspections and reviews and submit quarterly reports to USEPA. The proposed consent decree is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval.

Both USEPA and Ohio EPA have active and aggressive stormwater enforcement programs. It remains vitally important that developers stay up-to-date on these requirements to avoid harshpenalties.

*Post co-written by Molly Werhan, Kegler Brown 2015 summer associate who is pursuing her J.D. at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law in Columbus, Ohio