EPA Enforcement Action to Protect Streams in Columbia, Mo.
EPA has ordered The Links at Columbia L.P. of Columbia, Mo., to take immediate actions to reduce sediment-laden runoff from the Links at Columbia site. EPA intends to seek civil penalties for the violations.
This construction site will include a nine-hole golf course and a 64-building apartment complex. The permit holder for the site is The Links at Columbia L.P., a subsidiary of Lindsey Construction and Lindsey Management, a large Arkansas-based property management firm for multifamily housing. The firm manages over 100 apartment communities and 33 golf courses throughout nine states.
Storm-water runoff from this site discharges into Hominy Branch, a tributary of Hinkson Creek, which has been formally designated as an impaired waterway. Hinkson Creek was historically popular for recreational use, but increased agricultural and urban runoff during the last decade caused the water quality of Hinkson Creek to deteriorate.
EPA inspected this construction site in May 2007. The Agency found that the developer failed to: implement and maintain practices that minimize runoff, abide by its storm-water pollution prevention plan, and conduct site inspections. EPA determined that the construction site lacked proper erosion controls, leading to runoff of sediment into the Hinkson Creek watershed in violation of the state discharge permit and federal storm-water requirements.
The Links of Columbia had been inspected by Missouri Department of Natural Resources and Columbia. The state inspections in July 2006 and April 2007 determined that the site was in noncompliance and resulted in a letter of warning and a notice of violation.
Urban storm-water runoff from construction sites is a significant environmental concern. Construction activity generally increases erosion and runoff, which can choke streams and lakes with sediment. Sediment-laden runoff destroys spawning beds, suffocates fish eggs, decreases oxygen levels in streams, and blocks sunlight that is essential for the growth of beneficial water grasses.
Storm-water runoff can also carry high levels of pollutants such as oil and grease, suspended solids, nutrients, and heavy metals. Polluted storm-water runoff is a leading cause of impairment to the nearly 40 percent of surveyed U.S. water bodies that do not meet water quality standards.
The enforcement actions are part of a national effort by EPA to reduce the damage to water bodies caused by erosion at large construction sites. EPA intends for these actions to result in greater compliance and improved water quality by sending a clear message to the construction industry about the importance of controlling storm-water runoff.
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