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Colorado: Builder fined $310,000 for stormwater runoff violations at Air Force Academy

Meadow Creek, near Frisco, Colorado, raging with spring runoff.

Tainted stormwater runoff is a significant threat to water quality in many Colorado streams.

EPA tackling major violations around the country

Staff Report

FRISCO — A Colorado construction company has been fined $310,000 after multiple failures to comply with an EPA stormwater permit. The civil penalty is outlined in a settlement agreement sanctioned by the U.S. District Court for Colorado.

Under the settlement, Hunt Building has agreed to resolve alleged Clean Water Act violations at two military housing construction sites at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. The violations were discovered during EPA inspections at the site.

“Keeping contaminated stormwater runoff out of the nation’s waterways is an EPA priority,” said Shaun McGrath, EPA’s regional administrator in Denver. “EPA and our partners encourage builders to use the tools and resources available to help them to comply with these regulations.”

Stormwater permits issued under the Clean Water Act require that builders have controls in place at their construction sites to prevent the runoff of pollutants to nearby waterways. These include safeguards such as silt fences, phased site-grading, and sediment basins. Permits also require appropriate training for subcontractors and employees about pollution control practices.

Stormwater runoff from construction activities can have a significant impact on water quality, affecting drinking water, reducing usability, and damaging valuable aquatic habitats. As stormwater flows over a construction site, it can pick up pollutants such as sediment, debris, and chemicals. It can then transport these to a nearby storm sewer system or directly to a river, lake, or coastal water.

Polluted stormwater runoff can harm or kill fish and other wildlife. Sedimentation can destroy aquatic habitat, and high volumes of runoff can cause stream bank erosion.

Today’s settlement is the latest in a series of EPA enforcement actions to address stormwater violations at construction sites around the country. Hunt Building, based in El Paso, Texas, is one of the nation’s leading companies engaged in building, renovating, and demolishing privatized housing at military bases.

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