The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reached a settlement with 14 Massachusetts construction companies for violations of the federal Clean Water Act related to silt and sediment discharges from construction sites in Northeastern Massachusetts. 

Under the terms of the agreement, the companies will pay penalties totaling $155,000.

These companies violated their Clean Water Act stormwater permits by failing to design and implement required runoff controls at construction sites in Amesbury, Andover, Georgetown, Haverhill, Methuen, and Rowley. 

This resulted in sediment-laden stormwater runoff being discharged into nearby streams and wetlands. Sediment discharged from construction sites can clog aquatic life habitat and alter its physical stability.

Erosion from construction sites can result in sedimentation in streams and rivers that can adversely affect fish and wildlife habitat water quality for human uses such as drinking water supply and recreation, block culverts and pipes causing flooding, and impair the operation of hydroelectric facilities.

“Stormwater pollution is one of the most pervasive sources of water pollution,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “The public has a right to expect that construction sites will be managed properly to prevent sediment from fouling local rivers and streams.”

In addition to paying penalties, the companies agreed to implement specialized compliance training for employees responsible for implementing pollution control measures at construction sites.

The training will be conducted by a third-party consulting firm with expertise in the construction industry and will provide an overview of the types of pollutants generated on construction sites, erosion control measures and best management practices, stormwater pollution prevention plan (SWPPP) guidance and implementation, and inspection procedures.

“This settlement demonstrates EPA’s commitment to reducing pollution from construction sites,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “Polluted stormwater runoff from construction sites is one of the largest sources of water pollution in New England.”

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