NEW YORK — The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Justice have agreed to settle with Garden Homes and affiliated companies over alleged failure to control stormwater discharges, according to a press release.
The pollutants could have reached the Passaic, Hackensack, Rahway, Raritan, Saddle and Delaware River watersheds, noted the release.
Garden Homes must pay a $225,000 penalty and improve its stormwater practices, stated the release. It will also provide 108 acres of land for the Highlands Preservation Area, 23 acres of which are wetlands adjacent to the Berkshire Valley Wildlife Management Area.
“Stormwater often carries pollution and sediment into local waterways that can damage water quality,” said EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck in the release. “Large quantities of stormwater can run off of construction sites, and it is critically important that stormwater be controlled. The EPA takes these violations seriously, and this legal settlement not only holds the company accountable, but also includes measures to preserve 108 acres of land that contains vital wetlands near a wildlife area.”
Developers and contractors are responsible for implementing stormwater pollution prevention plans at construction sites one acre or larger under the Clean Water Act, reported the release. Soil and contaminants are carried off of these sites a higher rate than that from agricultural and forested lands.
Garden Homes will also develop a company-wide stormwater management program, shared the release. An employee will be designated as its stormwater manager.