May 08, 2006

Idaho DOT and Contractor to Pay $895,000 to Settle Federal Storm Water Discharge Claims

The Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) and contractor Scarsella Brothers, Inc. have agreed to pay $895,000 for violations of the Clean Water Act during the construction of the Bellgrove-Mica realignment of Highway 95 near Lake Coeur d'Alene in Northern Idaho, the Justice Department and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced recently.
The settlement concludes a lawsuit which began in 2004, alleging that ITD and Scarsella Brothers failed to provide adequate storm water controls for a large highway project that later deposited many tons of sediment in Mica Creek, which flows into Mica Bay in Lake Coeur d'Alene.
Under the terms of the consent decrees, lodged today in the federal district court in Boise, Idaho, ITD will pay a penalty of $495,000 and Scarsella Brothers will pay a $400,000 civil penalty. As part of the settlement, ITD and Scarsella Brothers also have agreed to send their engineers and environmental inspectors to a certified storm water management training, and ITD has agreed to implement new construction management practices to help avoid future violations of the storm water regulations.
“The Idaho Transportation Department and Scarsella Brothers Construction Company failed to follow known best management practices and their actions had a significant impact on the receiving waters and on the Mica Bay portion of Lake Coeur d’Alene,” said Assistant Attorney General Sue Ellen Wooldridge of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “We are committed to enforcing environmental laws and to seeing that violators undertake the actions necessary to comply with storm water regulations in the future.”
“Runoff from construction sites is a major contributor to water quality impairment in the U.S. The EPA is aggressively enforcing federal regulations to help control this problem,” said Granta Y. Nakayama, EPA's Assistant Administrator for the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “This settlement will result in improved water quality and is a signal of the Agency's commitment to enforcement of our nation's environmental laws and regulations.”