WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Justice today announced that it has reached an agreement with home developer NVR, Inc., where NVR will implement a program to improve compliance with federal clean water laws at its sites nationwide. Today’s agreement resolves allegations that NVR failed to comply with federal requirements to properly address pollution from stormwater at some of the company’s sites in New Jersey and New York.
“This agreement will improve NVR’s compliance with important clean water laws at NVR’s sites nationwide,” said Larry Starfield, acting Assistant Administrator for EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “EPA is committed to working with companies like NVR that establish comprehensive programs to reduce pollution and prevent future violations of the law.”
Under the federal Clean Water Act, developers and contractors responsible for operations at construction sites one acre or larger are required to obtain National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits and implement stormwater pollution prevention plans to keep soil and contaminants from running off into nearby waterways. Water carries soil and contaminants off of construction sites at a rate typically 10 to 20 times greater than that from agricultural lands and 1,000 to 2,000 times greater than that from forested lands.
EPA inspected 23 NVR sites in New York and New Jersey in 2009 and found that NVR had not obtained permits for stormwater discharges at any of the sites, had failed to implement and maintain all required erosion and sediment controls, and had failed to perform self-inspections at the required frequency. Later, EPA learned of an additional 42 sites in both states for which NVR had also failed to obtain permits.
The proposed settlement requires NVR to implement a comprehensive, corporate-wide program to improve compliance with federal laws that pertain to controlling stormwater pollution in order to prevent future violations. Under the compliance program, NVR must:
Designate stormwater compliance representatives at a site, division and national level;
Obtain NPDES permits prior to beginning construction at sites;
Make reasonable efforts to confirm that the land developer has also obtained NPDES permit coverage;
Prepare and implement site-specific stormwater pollution prevention plans;
Conduct pre-construction and weekly inspections at each site;
Submit national compliance summary reports to EPA each year; and
Implement a nationwide stormwater training program for all NVR employees who participate in, or assist with, construction activity.
NVR will also pay a $425,000 civil penalty as part of the settlement.
The settlement, which is subject to a 30-day public comment period, is conditioned upon approval by the United States District Court before becoming final. The complaint, proposed consent decree and Federal Register Notice, which contains information on how to submit comments, can be viewed on the Justice Department’s website at https://www.justice.gov/enrd/consent-decrees.
For more information on the settlement, visit https://19january2021snapshot.epa.gov/enforcement/nvr-inc-clean-water-act-settlement.