EPA tags builder for lax concrete washout, stormwater management

Sources: Environmental Protection Agency; CP staff

Under agreement with the EPA, Rochester, N.Y., builder Atlantic Funding & Real Estate will pay a $50,000 penalty for stormwater control rule violations at its Gateway Landing development, and invest nearly $70,000 in a bioswale to filter silt and pollution from the site’s contaminated runoff into the Erie Canal.

Along with Atlantic Funding documents, EPA inspections of Gateway Landing sites in Greece and Gates, N.Y., revealed the builder was not properly following key stormwater pollution prevention plan parts. Violations included failure to a) install a designated concrete washout area and perimeter silt fence prior to start of work; and, b) construct sediment basins and permanently stabilize drainage ditches with vegetation prior to road and building construction. The builder also violated stormwater discharge permit provisions, including the requirement to a) conduct site inspections according to the specified schedule; and, b) properly amend a pollution prevention plan to minimize site pollutant discharges.

“Soil and pollutants carried by uncontrolled stormwater runoff can seriously damage our waterways. The legal settlement with Atlantic Funding will reduce stormwater runoff, protecting water quality in the Erie Canal,” notes EPA Regional Administrator Judith Enck.

More than one third of Gateway Landing’s 20,000-sq.-ft. bioswale will consist of a rain garden—a shallow, vegetated basin to collect and absorb rooftop, sidewalk and pavement runoff. EPA estimates the project will curtail stormwater conveyance by as much as 145,000 gallons a year. The Clean Water Act requires developers of sites exceeding one acre to implement stormwater pollution prevention plans to keep soil and contaminants from running off into nearby waterways. EPA estimates the rate at which water carries soil and contaminants off construction sites is typically 10 to 20 times and 1,000 to 2,000 times greater than that from agricultural and forested lands, respectively.