The company will pay a $90,000 penalty for violations at its Warren, Mass., facility
A settlement signed recently by a company that builds solar power facilities in Massachusetts will remind construction companies that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continues to protect the environment from illegal discharges of storm water.
Borrego Solar Systems Inc., of San Diego, will pay a $90,000 penalty, settling EPA claims that it failed to follow requirements for controlling storm water discharges when constructing three solar power array sites in Warren, Mass.
According to the complaint filed by EPA’s New England office, Borrego in 2013 and 2014 failed to comply with certain parts of its construction permit when it was directing the construction at the adjacent solar power array sites off Little Rest Road. Work at each of the sites involved disturbing more than an acre of land.
EPA alleged that, because of poor erosion controls, during storms between Nov. 2013 and Jan. 2014, about 10 to 35 cu yards of sediments were discharged into wetlands and into Taylor Brooks and Tufts Brooks as a result of the violations.
EPA alleged that Borrego violated requirements of its 2012 Construction General Permit by failing to install and maintain erosion controls and to carry out required best management practices for controlling storm water. The requirements were conditions of the Clean Water Act National Pollution Discharge Elimination System General Permit for Stormwater Discharges from Construction.
“The requirements of a construction permit are meant to minimize the amount of damage caused to the environment by storm water discharges,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office.
Specifically, EPA alleged that the company failed to: construct adequate storm water detention basins before construction; construct storm water detention basins in accordance with good engineering practices; install and maintain silt fencing and other perimeter controls; ensure that discharges to surface waters were treated by an area of undisturbed natural buffer or additional erosion and sediment controls equivalent to a 50-ft natural buffer.
The case stems from information provided to EPA by the Warren Conservation Commission, which ordered the company in January 2014 to remove sediments and restoration of the wetlands.