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NY Builder to Pay $50K in EPA Action

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

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A New York construction company will pay a $50,000 penalty and build a $70,000 drainage system to settle claims that it violated federal clean-water regulations at a development site, authorities have announced.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said May 27 that it had reached that settlement with Rochester, NY-based Atlantic Funding and Real Estate and its owner, Alfred Spaziano.

The case stems from two inspections of the company’s Gateway Landing construction project along the Erie Canal, on the border of Greece and Gates, NY.

Erie Canal
Joshua Karn / Wikimedia Commons

The EPA inspected the construction site, located along the Erie Canal, in September 2012 and February 2013. This canal image does not show the construction site in this case.

The new mixed-use project features 170 townhomes and apartments, a fitness center, community building, retail space, and heated underground parking, according to project details. The project website says the Gateway Landing is a “green” housing project.

Alleged Violations

The EPA inspections, initiated in September 2012 and February 2013, found that Atlantic had failed to install a designated concrete washout area or a perimeter silt fence at the construction site, EPA alleged.

The company also failed to build sediment basins and permanently stabilize drainage ditches with vegetation before road and building construction, EPA said.

The violations allowed rainwater and melting snow to carry pollutants and silt from the jobsite into town storm sewers that flow into the canal, officials noted.

Additionally, EPA accused Atlantic Funding of violating provisions of its stormwater discharge permit. They included requirements to conduct site inspections on a specified schedule and to amend its stormwater pollution prevention plan to minimize discharges of pollutants from the site.

Under the federal Clean Water Act, developers of sites one acre or larger are required to implement stormwater pollution prevention plans to keep soil and contaminants from running off into nearby waterways.

The rate at which water carries soil and contaminants off of construction sites is typically 10 to 20 times greater than that from agricultural lands and 1,000 to 2,000 times greater than those of forested lands, EPA noted.

Supplemental Bioswale Project

In addition to the $50,000 fine, the company agreed to invest nearly $70,000 to construct a bioswale—an area of vegetation or mulch that works to filter silt and pollution, according to the agency.

Bioswale
USDA

As part of the settlement, the company agreed to invest nearly $70,000 to construct a bioswale—an area of vegetation or mulch that filters silt and pollution before any stormwater enters sewer systems.

The 20,204-square-foot bioswale at Gateway Landing will contain a 7,800-square-foot rain garden. Rain gardens are shallow, vegetated basins that collect and absorb runoff from rooftops, sidewalks and streets, according to the EPA.

Under the terms of the agreement, Atlantic Funding must complete the supplemental project by Oct. 31.

“The bioswale is a project that benefits the environment and the community that would otherwise not have been required to bring the company into compliance,” EPA said.

The agency estimates that the project will reduce stormwater runoff into the Erie Canal by as much as 144,821 gallons a year.

Atlantic Funding did not respond to request for comment on the settlement.

   

Tagged categories: Clean Water Act; Contractors; Environmental Protection; EPA; Good Technical Practice; Health and safety; Waterfronts

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