Sep 26, 2018

EPA Settles With PennDOT Over Construction-Related Storm Water Violations

The Pennsylvania department failed to implement best management practices at multiple construction sites

PennDOT resolves storm water runoff violations
PennDOT resolves storm water runoff violations

The U.S. EPA and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) agreed to settle a multi-site construction-related storm water case. The parties are resolving 209 alleged violations at PennDOT-owned construction sites arising from PennDOT’s construction contractors failing to fully implement best management practices (BMPs) as required by the Clean Water Act and Pennsylvania’s Clean Streams Law.

In a consent agreement with EPA, PennDOT agreed to implement a comprehensive compliance management program and complete multi-million dollar environmentally beneficial projects in several Pennsylvania watersheds, including Codorus Creek Watershed in York County.                              

As part of the settlement, PennDOT has already begun to create a compliance management program to ensure that their construction activities meet the requirements of their Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) storm water permits.  The major elements of this program include:

  • Developing a compliance monitoring data system to track weekly visual self-inspections using mobile devices and improve monitoring of construction contractors’ NPDES compliance, including the status of actions to correct deficiencies;
  • Conducting storm water inspection training. PennDOT will provide training to all current and newly hired staff on proper storm water inspection methodology;
  • Implementing periodic self-audits of construction sites to determine the effectiveness of the compliance management program and its elements; and
  • Creating a public information web page identifying PennDOT efforts to comply with NPDES requirements.

PennDOT’s environmentally beneficial projects will restore the quality of streams within the Codorus Creek and other Watersheds. PennDOT will also test an innovative procurement mechanism which requires contractors to compete for a project from a sediment-reduction standpoint, with the contract being awarded to the contractor whose project management plan will reduce the most sediment pollution for the available funds.  

Plans may include improvements like the construction of structural BMPs such as storm water management ponds, vegetated swales and buffer strips, and stabilizing stream banks for reducing sediment loadings to surface waters. This effort is a pilot project for coordination between PennDOT and local municipalities regarding storm water management and will serve as a model for other communities.  

PennDOT will also pay a penalty of $100,000.