Oct 30, 2019

Utah Department of Transportation Reaches Settlement in Storm Water Lawsuit

The Utah Department of Transportation is adjusting its storm water monitoring as part of a settlement deal to comply with the Clean Water Act. 

The Utah Department of Transportation is adjusting its storm water monitoring as part of a settlement deal to comply with the Clean Water Act. 

The Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) is agreeing to adjust how it monitors storm water runoff from road construction sites and salt storage facilities as part of a lawsuit settlement deal, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.

The U.S. EPA documented violations of UDOT’s wastewater discharge permit and the Clean Water Act that date back to 2013. 

UDOT is agreeing to pay a $325,000 fine and take corrective measures to remain in compliance with its permits, reported the Salt Lake Tribune.

“UDOT considers safety a top priority, and this includes environmental safety,” said spokesman Zach Whitney in an email. “For years, we have had a robust and responsive storm water maintenance program. In 2015, as part of a scheduled audit by the EPA, we became aware of some areas of improvement that were needed to comply with federal storm water standards. UDOT began immediately to work with the EPA and the US Department of Justice to make those improvements.”

The complaint faults UDOT for failure to minimize and monitor the discharge of pollutants from roads into municipal sewer systems. The pollution allegedly washed into the Weber, Logan, Jordan and Santa Clara rivers, as well as the Great Salt Lake.

According to the Salt Lake Tribune, a 2013 inspection documented that storm water washed salt and other pollutants from UDOT storage yards into gutters and drains. The agency had mapped less than a third of its storm water outfalls.

The settlement requires UDOT to post annual reports on its progress implementing the terms of the settlement and citing any instances of noncompliance.

"By failing to map the locations of all outfalls, and by allowing salt and other pollutants from its facilities to flow into various drains, curbs, gutters and/or retention ponds, UDOT failed to implement a program to detect and eliminate illicit discharges and improper disposal into its [storm water runoff]," reported the suit.

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