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MO Highway Work Draws $750K Fine

Thursday, April 16, 2015

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LENEXA, KS—Missouri transportation officials will mount a statewide compliance program and pay a $750,000 fine to settle alleged violations of the U.S. Clean Water Act at two road construction sites, the Environmental Protection Agency has announced.

The case dates to 2010, when EPA Region 7 first inspected the two sites and documented "serious erosion control issues" at both sites, the agency said.

EPARunoff OsageBeach

Stormwater runoff is generated when precipitation from rain and snowmelt flows over pavement and other impervious surfaces, collecting debris, chemicals, sediment and other pollutants. Sediment traps (above) are sometimes used to collect sediment-laden runoff from disturbed areas on construction sites.

Photos: EPA

On those inspections and in another round the following year, inspectors identified a variety of violations, including:

  • Failing to install or implement adequate stormwater control measures;
  • Neglecting to repair those that were installed;
  • Failing to develop and update a sufficient pollution prevention plan; and
  • Unsatisfactory record-keeping and self-inspections.

The allegations are outlined in a federal complaint filed April 8, the same day as the proposed consent decree.

The Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission, the parent agency of the state's Department of Transportation, admits no wrongdoing in the case.


The sites are Highway 54 in Osage Beach, and on Highway 67 between Coldwater and Silva.

Larry D. Moore / CC BY-SA 3.0

Homeowners said the state road construction dumped mud and sediment on their properties. They also expressed concern about turbidity in nearby bodies of water. The image does not show the location in this case.

Osage Beach, in the Lake of the Ozarks area, is a popular tourist and shopping destination. The inspections were prompted by complaints from Osage Beach residents who said construction at the site had left mud and sediment on nearby properties.

The residents also expressed concern that water turbidity and the associated sedimentation could harm aquatic life, EPA said.

New Requirements

The consent decree requires MoDOT to "complete significant injunctive relief," including:

  • Establishing a statewide stormwater compliance management structure;
  • Establishing a similar structure for each construction project;
  • Assigning environmental construction inspectors for each project; and
  • Implementing an electronic stormwater compliance database to track the correction of deficiencies identified during inspections.

Development significantly reduces stormwater infiltration and increases runoff, the EPA says.

The agreement also requires:

  • A stormwater training program for employees; and
  • Third-party inspections by a consultant or MoDOT inspector not affiliated with a project at "environmentally sensitive areas" in Missouri.

Environmentally sensitive areas are those that provide critical habitat for threatened or endangered species, or those where sediment impairs the downstream water body.

The consent decree is subject to a 30-day public comment period and approval by the federal court.

Stormwater Damage

Stormwater runoff is generated when precipitation from rain and snowmelt flows over land or impervious surfaces such as paved streets, parking lots and rooftops, rather than percolating into the ground.


The Osage Beach region of Missouri is a popular, and constantly growing, tourist and shopping area.

Such runoff collects debris, chemicals, sediment and other pollutants.

“Road construction projects can generate significant quantities of stormwater runoff, resulting in environmental damage if not properly managed,” said Acting EPA Region 7 Administrator Mark Hague.

“The terms of this agreement ensure that the Missouri Department of Transportation will complete their work projects with appropriate plans, procedures and personnel to protect the environment."


Tagged categories: Clean Water Act; Construction; Department of Transportation (DOT); Enforcement; Environmental Controls; North America; Project Management; Roads/Highways

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