EPA tags Beazer Homes for Clean Water Act violations; Two sites in PWC

As part of a settlement agreement applauded by all, including Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, Beazer Homes has agreed to pay a $925,000 fine to settle Clean Water Act violations identified by the EPA at 362 development sites in 21 states.

Certainly the number and extent of the violations at Beazer Homes development sites points to a nationwide pattern of noncompliance and widespread damages to waterways. Expensive clean ups will be needed and these are likely to exceed the amount of the fine. Virginia receives only $10,193 as part of the settlement, which won’t cover much, leaving taxpayers holding the bag once again.

Considering this, it could seem like Beazer Homes got off lightly. However, and more importantly, Beazer Homes has also agreed to implement a company-wide stormwater program that meets the EPA standards outlined in the settlement agreement.

This should cause some changes to business-as-usual at Beezer Homes (or at least improve their record for securing permits) and help avoid future needs for costly taxpayer-funded fixes after the damage is done.

Violations at two Prince William developments were included in the Consent Decree – New Bristow Village in Bristow and Market Center in Haymarket. We had several calls today from people wondering why the EPA was needed to address violations in Prince William. Doesn’t the County have enforcement authority? Did they drop the ball? 

I spoke with the County’s Watershed Management Division earlier today and learned that they were also surprised by the news. The EPA did not contact the County, but acted independently to address what they had identified as a comprehensive, nationwide problem with Beezer Homes.

The County has now contacted the EPA for information, which will tell us more about what exactly happened at New Bristow Village and Market Center. And perhaps the EPA has good reasons for leaving the County out of the loop, but it does raise concerns that poor communication could leave the County standing alone when serious Clean Water Act violations occur on difficult development sites, such as those at the Harbor Station development on the Cherry Hill Peninsula.

But all in all, it’s good day when EPA acts to enforce the Clean Water Act. Hopefully this is a warning to polluters that the EPA intends to stand behind their Chesapeake Bay clean up requirements and we can finally start moving toward a sustainable future.


2 comments so far

  1. Elena on

    I really wish PWC could be in the news for something forward thinking, like amazing new building standards and environment standards. How embarrassing!

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