The Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) has agreed to pay a $477,500 civil penalty to settle alleged violations of the Clean Water Act at three road construction sites that are located near Lawrence, Manhattan, and Pleasanton, the Environmental Protection Agency announced today.
EPA Region 7 inspected the U.S. Highway 69 project near Pleasanton in November 2008, the U.S. Highway 59 project near Lawrence in August 2010, and the Kansas Highway 18 project near Manhattan in May 2012. Violations included the failure to install or implement adequate stormwater control measures, including the failure to timely stabilize disturbed soils, the failure to properly maintain stormwater controls, the failure to develop an adequate stormwater pollution prevention plan and update the plan as appropriate, and the failure to maintain the plan and other records on site. EPA documented hundreds of violations based on site inspections and information requests.
“With the amount of stormwater runoff that occurs during construction of Kansas roads and highways, effective stormwater management is necessary to protect our waters,” said EPA Region 7 Administrator Karl Brooks. “The penalty and injunctive relief required by this agreement will ensure that the Kansas Department of Transportation has the appropriate plans, procedures and personnel on their project sites.”
As a part of this settlement, KDOT has agreed to complete significant injunctive relief. The consent decree requires KDOT to designate a stormwater compliance manager to oversee stormwater compliance statewide and to designate a stormwater compliance manager for each site. The consent decree also requires third party oversight inspections, which require a consultant or KDOT inspector not affiliated with the project to conduct additional inspections at environmentally sensitive areas in Kansas. The consent decree defines environmentally sensitive areas as areas that provide critical habitat for threatened or endangered species, or those where the downstream water body is impaired for sediment.
The consent decree is subject to a 30-day public comment period and approval by the federal court. Once it is published in the Federal Register, a copy of the consent decree will be available on the Justice Department web site at http://www.usdoj.gov/enrd/Consent_Decrees.html