SALT LAKE CITY — The company that bills itself as Utah’s No. 1 homebuilder was slapped with a $250,000 penalty for alleged stormwater violations at several of its construction sites in Utah.
Ivory Homes entered into a settlement agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency to institute protections that the EPA said will help prevent hundreds of thousands of pounds of sediment from reaching Utah’s waterways.
“Keeping contaminated stormwater runoff out of the nation’s waterways is an EPA priority,” said Shaun McGrath, EPA’s regional administrator in Denver. “(The) settlement requires Ivory Homes to implement comprehensive controls and training that will prevent runoff from contaminating Utah’s rivers, lakes and sources of drinking water.”
Walt Baker, director of the Utah Division of Water Quality, said the alleged stormwater violations were the result of inspections conducted in 2008 in a case that just barely reached resolution.
Baker, who was updating members of the Utah Water Quality Board on the case Wednesday, said state regulators were not involved, and the problems were noted by independent actions of the EPA.
The agency said Ivory repeatedly failed to follow permit requirements to install and maintain adequate stormwater pollution controls. It also did not conduct the necessary inspections or prevent the discharge of construction materials to nearby surface waters.
As part of the agreement, Ivory Homes will invest in a companywide compliance program to improve employee training and stormwater management at all current and future residential construction sites, according to the agency.
David Broadbent, Ivory's chief operating officer, said the company is the first and only homebuilder in the state to embrace a companywide program on stormwater pollution.
"These companywide environmental protection measures far exceed any requirement imposed under federal or state law," he said. "We implemented these stormwater protection measures years ago. "
Broadbent noted that the consent decree with the EPA was crafted to "amicably resolve" disputed allegations from 2008 inspections that did not provide any evidence there had been actual discharge or harm to Utah waters.
“We are pleased to have resolved this issue in a mutually acceptable way,” he said.
EPA officials said stormwater runoff from construction activities can have significant impacts, including stream bank erosion and the destruction of fish and other wildlife.
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