Epa Chief Outlines Stepped Up Clean Water Act Enforcement

The Clean Water Action Enforcement Plan, outlined by EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson in an Oct. 15 House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing, calls for the agency to a) develop more comprehensive approaches to ensure enforcement is targeted to the most serious violations and significant pollution sources

Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, D.C.

The Clean Water Action Enforcement Plan, outlined by EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson in an Oct. 15 House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing, calls for the agency to a) develop more comprehensive approaches to ensure enforcement is targeted to the most serious violations and significant pollution sources; b) work with states to ensure greater compliance and water quality consistency; and, c) ensure that states are issuing protective permits and taking enforcement measures to achieve compliance and remove economic incentives to violate the law.

Updating our efforts under the Clean Water Act will promote innovative solutions for 21st century water challenges, build stronger ties between EPA, state, and local actions, and provide the transparency the public rightfully expects, Jackson told the committee.

The plan outlines how the agency will strengthen the way it addresses water pollution challenges of this century, including the control of contaminated water that flows from industrial facilities, construction sites, sewer overflows, and runoff from urban streets.

For concrete operations, the Clean Water Action Enforcement Plan appears to broaden a regulatory mission that has seen a wave of actions and settlements involving producers in multiple EPA regions in 2009, including the record-breaking nearly $10 million in fines and remediation for 23 Aggregate Industries√íNortheast (NE) Region operations; $233,000 in fines and investments by Consolidated Concrete Corp., East Providence, R.I.; a $43,000 penalty against Knife River Midwest‘s Decorah, Iowa, plant; and, a $95,000 civil penalty paid by Wamego Sand Company for violations at its Midwest Concrete Materials facility.