USEPA announced that it has settled a stormwater enforcement case against Toll Brothers, one of the largest home building companies in the United States. This case is one of a series of stormwater enforcement cases targeting residential developers and big-box retailers for violations of construction stormwater regulations. While this enforcement priority has been in place for a while, the Toll Brothers case reflects USEPA’s continued dedication to target construction stormwater violations for enforcement.
 The settlement resulted from over 600 alleged violations of stormwater regulations by Toll Brothers on numerous construction sites, which resulted in increased pollution from stormwater runoff. The settlement calls for Toll Brothers to pay $741,000 to resolve the claims against it. It also implements a compliance program, which requires Toll Brothers to provide for dedicated management oversight and employee training regarding stormwater compliance, and to routinely inspect construction sites to minimize stormwater runoff. Toll Brothers must also develop site-specific pollution prevention plans for each construction site, and track and submit to USEPA stormwater related data. The structure of this settlement is very similar to consent decrees USEPA has negotiated in previous construction stormwater cases.
The Toll Brothers case is a reminder to developers and big-box retailers that they should consider auditing their stormwater compliance programs at construction sites. Recent economic pressures may invite cutting corners on regulatory compliance, particularly on matters such as stormwater that may be viewed as unimportant. USEPA does not share that view, however -- stormwater is considered a principal threat to water quality and therefore it remains an enforcement priority. Even if compliance short-cuts are taken by construction contractors without the owner's knowledge, USEPA may deem the owner responsible for the non-compliance.
A list of Clean Water Act settlements can be found on the USEPA website.