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Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission Missouri Department of Transportation Settlement

(Washington, DC - April 8, 2015) - The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) has agreed to implement a statewide compliance program and to pay a $750,000 civil penalty to settle alleged violations of the Clean Water Act at two road construction sites. The sites are Highway 54 in Osage Beach, and on Highway 67 between Coldwater and Silva.

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Overview of Company

The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) operates under the direction of the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission and is the state agency that conducts the building, expansion, modernization and maintenance of public roads in the state of Missouri. MoDOT is responsible for the nation’s seventh largest state highway system which includes 33,890 miles of highway and over 10,000 bridges. In addition, MoDOT maintains programs for airports, river ports, railroads and public transit systems.

EPA identified violations of stormwater requirements at two MoDOT highway expansion projects:

  • Highway 54 in the area of Osage Beach
  • Highway 67 between Coldwater and Silva 

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MoDOT failed to comply with the conditions in the stormwater construction general permit issued by the state of Missouri pursuant to Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 402, U.S.C. § 1342, resulting in the discharge of pollutants in stormwater from construction sites in violation of CWA Section 301. Alleged permit violations included the failure to develop adequate storm water pollution prevention plans, the failure to install adequate structural controls to minimize sediment migration and erosion, the failure to properly maintain and repair structural controls that were installed, and the failure to conduct adequate self-inspections. Inadequate structural controls included missing sediment basins, silt fences, stabilization and inlet protection. Some sediment basins that were installed were undersized, improperly constructed, and filled with sediment.

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Injunctive Relief

The consent decree requires MoDOT to implement a statewide compliance program that will ensure adequate management and oversight of construction sites and compliance with the Missouri construction stormwater general permit. The compliance program includes:

  • Designation of a MoDOT stormwater compliance manager who will oversee the compliance program statewide;
  • Designation of trained and qualified site-level stormwater compliance managers and inspectors for each construction site who will be responsible for compliance at that site;
  • A requirement to conduct and document a pre-construction inspection and meeting at every site prior to commencing construction activity;
  • Development and implementation of an electronic stormwater compliance database that will track all deficiencies identified during inspections and the actions taken to address those deficiencies;
  • A requirement for additional independent oversight inspections at projects located in environmentally sensitive areas;
  • A requirement to train all MoDOT employees who are stormwater compliance managers or inspectors;
  • A requirement that MoDOT’s prime contractors identify a stormwater compliance manager for each project who shall be adequately trained and who will be responsible for ensuring compliance by the contractor and its subcontractors; and,
  • A requirement to submit national compliance summary reports to EPA.

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Pollutant Reduction

As a result of this settlement, EPA estimates that the sediment discharged in stormwater runoff will be reduced by as much as 10 million pounds from MoDOT construction sites over the first year. 

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Health and Environmental Effects

Discharges of stormwater runoff, including runoff from construction sites, can have a significant impact on water quality. Construction activities alter natural landscapes.  During construction, earth is compacted, excavated and displaced, and vegetation is removed. These activities increase runoff and erosion, thus increasing sediment transported to receiving waters. In addition to sediment, as stormwater flows over a construction site, it can pick up other pollutants such as debris, pesticides, petroleum products, chemicals, solvents, asphalts and acids that may also contribute to water quality problems. 

Sediment-laden runoff can result in increased turbidity and decreased oxygen in receiving waters, which in turn results in loss of in-stream habitat for fish and other aquatic species. 

Sediment can kill fish directly, destroy spawning beds, suffocate fish eggs and bottom dwelling organisms, and block sunlight resulting in reduced growth of beneficial aquatic grasses. In addition, sediment can impact the treatment of drinking water resulting in higher treatment costs, and can result in the loss of drinking water reservoir storage capacity and decrease the navigational capacity of waterways.

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Civil Penalty

As part of the settlement, MoDOT has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $750,000.

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Comment Period

The proposed settlement, lodged in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval.  Information on submitting comments is available at the U.S. Department of Justice website.

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For more information, please contact:

Susan D. Bruce
Environmental Engineer
Water Enforcement Division
Office of Civil Enforcement, US EPA
Mail Code: 2243A
1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC  20460

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