Residential Developers Cited By EPA for Stormwater Discharges

In a press release on Wednesday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced that it has taken action to enforce the Clean Water Act against two Puerto Rican companies involved in a construction project, the Finca de Sueña Aurora residential development.

Allegedly, Aurora’s Dream LLC and Bellagio LLC breached regulations for stormwater discharge and did not have the proper permits.  The enforcement action from the EPA was intended to reduce water pollution due to the stormwater runoff from the construction site. 

Walter Mugdan, an EPA acting regional administrator said, “it is imperative that developers get stormwater permit coverage for construction projects and implement erosion and sediment controls to protect communities’ clean water and associated ecosystems. … Building without the proper permits and appropriate erosion controls is a violation of the Federal Clean Water Act. EPA is committed to working with developers and contractors so that they can be good stewards for the benefit of the local communities they serve and for Puerto Rico’s coastal waters.”

According to the press release, Aurora’s Dream did not apply for a National Pollutant Elimination Discharge System Permit, as is required for construction activities.  The other company, Bellagio LLC, violated the requirements of its permit. In addition to the storm water violations, the companies allegedly altered vegetation and excavated soil, but did not implement “erosion-control best management practices.”

For the alleged violations, the companies must acquire permits, correct their actions, train staff, start controlling erosion, and submit progress to the EPA every two weeks while they continue construction. 

“Polluted stormwater runoff presents a serious threat to Caribbean coastal waters, including the Rincón Tres Palmas Marine Reserve,” the EPA explained. It said under the Clean Water Act any construction project that disturbs land that neighbors a body of water is required to obtain a permit and take the steps outlined in the permit.