Construction firm settles to resolve Clean Water Act violations

Gilbane Building Co. recently reached a settlement agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to resolve allegations that the family-owned, national construction and real estate development company violated the Clean Water Act.

Gilbane is the general contractor of the North Reading High School and Middle School project, in North Reading, Massachusetts.

The business, based in Providence, R.I., has been working on the project since January 2013, on a 32-plus acre site, conducting demolition, reconstruction and renovation of several school buildings, as well as construction of parking lots, a waste water treatment facility and athletic fields.

The EPA alleged that the company violated a Clean Water Act General Construction Permit at the work site, and that that Gilbane did not sufficiently implement measures to fully prevent potentially harmful impacts on waterways during their work.

According to the EPA, the company obtained coverage for the construction job under the General Construction Permit, a part of the federal Clean Water Act, but did not follow all stormwater pollution control practices, essential to minimizing the discharge of pollutants to local waterways.

Gilbane did not agree with the violations, but still agreed to work cooperatively with the EPA to reduced amounts of sediment and contaminated run off impacting the Ipswich River. They will pay a penalty of $12,500 under the terms of the settlement.

Rainwater running off construction sites can carry sediments, oil and other pollutants which taint nearby streams, ponds and rivers. Sediments reduce the storage capacity of drains and waterways, causing flooding and damaging water quality and fish habitats.

Environmental consultants can assist builders and developers as they work to come into compliance with federal and state regulations regarding stormwater laws.