The EPA has reached an agreement with Gowan Construction, Inc. and the North Dakota Department of Transportation resolving alleged violations of the Clean Water Act at an interstate highway construction project affecting the Sheyenne River near Harwood in Cass County, North Dakota. Gowan is based in Oslo, Minn. and maintains a branch office in Grand Forks, N.D.
Under a consent agreement signed on June 12, 2012, Gowan will pay a penalty of $40,000. As part of the agreement, NDDOT has agreed to inspect active construction sites, review stormwater pollution prevention plans created for the department’s projects, and conduct reviews to ensure their contractors are complying with the Clean Water Act. NDDOT agreed to develop a website devoted to stormwater management that offers resources for contractors, and plans to continue to provide stormwater training opportunities for its contractors.
“EPA will vigorously enforce the laws to protect our nation’s water resources,” said Mike Gaydosh, EPA’s Enforcement Director in Denver. “EPA is encouraged that Gowan and the State of North Dakota are taking steps to ensure compliance with requirements that limit runoff of pollutants into surface waters.”
The alleged violations were discovered during an EPA inspection of Gowan’s construction site on Interstate 29, northwest of Fargo, in August, 2010. The project created a land disturbance of 220 acres, which intersected and overlaid the Sheyenne River.
EPA observed unauthorized stormwater discharges at the site and alleged that Gowan and NDDOT had failed to maintain stormwater controls (such as silt fences, straw wattles, and silt curtains), failed to comply with inspection requirements, and failed to develop an adequate stormwater pollution prevention plan, all in violation of the Clean Water Act and their permit. The inspection was conducted when the project was 50% complete. During construction activities, 1100 tons of sediment was estimated to have been discharged in violation of the Clean Water Act. After EPA’s inspection an estimated 950 tons of sediment was reduced from entering surface water.
Source: EPA release