MoDOT Violated Permits for Third Time in 5 Years, EPA Says

7 years 9 months 2 weeks ago Friday, September 03 2010 Sep 3, 2010 Friday, September 03, 2010 5:47:31 PM CDT September 03, 2010 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The state Department of Transportation violated stormwater permits for the third time in five years, the Environmental Protection Agency said late Thursday.

The EPA has ordered the department to comply with the permits and control stormwater runoff at two sites, one on Highway 54 through Camden County and the other in Wayne County in southeast Missouri. The federal government could fine the Transportation Department for the violations, as it did in two previous cases.

The department acknowledged the violations occurred, but they were an isolated problem after heavy May rains, said Roger Schwartze, the district engineer who is in charge of the Camden County project.

"We do a lot of projects, and when there are these large storm events, obviously some material can get away on us," Schwartze said. "If they come and do an inspection, you wind up getting fined for it."

The department was guilty of the same violations in 2005 and 2008. The EPA fined it $102,137 for those problems. More fines could be on the way in this case, the EPA said.

The agency cleaned up the sites in May after the EPA cited the problems, and the runoff is not an ongoing issue, Schwartze said.

The agency failed to inspect the sites, allowing stormwater to flow into nearby bodies of water, including Lake of the Ozarks, the EPA said.

"Sediment from construction runoff negatively impacts water quality," Karl Brooks, the EPA regional administrator that oversees Missouri, said in a news release. "It results in greater cloudiness of water bodies and decreases their oxygen content, which results in loss of habitat for fish and other aquatic life."

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