The San Juan Daily Star
EPA fines companies for Clean Water Act violations at Luquillo hotel construction site
By The Star Staff
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced Monday that it has taken an enforcement action against Northshore Management Corp. and Luquillo Hotel Company LLC for failure to comply with permit notification requirements under the Clean Water Act (CWA).
The companies will pay a total fine of $30,000 for the violations, which were related to the construction of the Fairfield Inn and Suites Hotel & Casino project in Luquillo.
The penalty settlement is the latest in a series of enforcement actions taken to address violations at construction sites throughout the island. EPA considers it a priority to enforce compliance with the Clean Water Act due to increased construction activity across Puerto Rico, especially in coastal areas.
“Companies must comply with the Clean Water Act. Compliance prevents waterways from being contaminated by stormwater runoff and pollutants from construction activities” EPA Regional Administrator Lisa F. García said in a statement. “It is critical that operators of construction activities requiring permit coverage apply for and adhere to permit requirements to ensure environmental impacts to our natural resources are effectively minimized.”
Under the CWA and implementing regulations, operators of construction activities that propose to discharge into water bodies are required to obtain permits and to follow the requirements outlined in those permits to reduce pollution runoff. Failure to obtain a permit or to follow the requirements of a permit may violate federal law.
The companies failed to submit a “Notice of Intent” for coverage of construction activities at the project under EPA’s permit requirements and failed to implement and maintain effective stormwater and erosion controls at the project, as required by regulations. The Luquillo Hotel Company failed to apply in a timely way for stormwater permit coverage for its construction activities at the project and, accordingly, discharged pollutants without authorization into wetlands. As part of the EPA working with the businesses to address the violations, the two companies have taken steps to implement erosion and sediment controls as well as soil stabilization in areas of the project. As a result, Northshore Management Corp. and Luquillo Hotel Company reached substantial compliance with the environmental requirements.