Why is This Important Now? Stormwater enforcement through citizen lawsuits under the Clean Water Act has broken out on the West Coast and East Coast, and now here in Pennsylvania. In a case of national significance, the Washington State Department of Transportation found itself responsible for sediments contaminated by runoff from traffic from one of its highways. This case was appealed to federal court, and the Washington State Department of Transportation was held as being an arranger for disposal of hazardous substances, through a roadway storm drain-age piping system.
What Will I Learn? With stormwater, in contrast to other environmental problems, each site is different. Critical to avoiding stormwater enforcement problems is to implement Best Management Practices, particularly where stormwater discharges occur to environmentally sensitive areas, including creeks, rivers and wetlands. Unfortunately, discharges from boatyards, parking lots, truck stops, facilities with outdoor vehicle maintenance, metal recycling, and any location with heavy vehicle traffic must implement appropriate Best Management Practices, and, have a permit to discharge any regulated sub-stances in stormwater and be in compliance, to avoid liability.
What are the Risks? In addition to there being tightened rules for construction, compliance is being found to be lacking, at the majority of sites affected by recent stormwater regulations. Throughout the country, however, river-keepers, baykeepers, and citizens groups are inspecting waterways, and in some instances, taking samples, with Clean Water Act litigation following when contaminants including metals are found in stormwater. Implementing Best Management Practices and staying in compliance with general or individual permit limits is critical going forward. Where particular facilities do not have permits, obtaining the proper permitting is also critical.
Are there Penalties? To date, the citizen suits on the West Coast and in New England, have not involved regulatory agencies, but, instead, the threat of daily fines, in some instances up to more than $30,000 a day during discharge events, have caused site owners with improper stormwater discharges to pay the cost of litigation, pay a large donation to an environmental organization a baykeeper/riverkeeper group, and promptly implement Best Management Practices, and implement stormwater treatment and monitoring to show compliance.
Date: Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Time: 7:30 AM – 2:00 PM
Faculty: Alex Basilevsky, Esq., Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel LLP Gary Brown, P.E. RT Environmental Joseph McGovern, Esq., Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel LLP