Clean Water violations just a rainy day?

A thunderstorm cost taxpayers and a local developer a total of $40,000 for federal Clean Water Act violations.

Clean Water Act violations

A local company and a state agency were among 12 violators recently fined by the federal Environmental Protection Agency for stormwater violations. The civil fines included:

South Carolina Department of Transportation, for violations at its U.S. Highway 17A road widening in Berkeley County ($21,000).

GSR Jedburg LLC, for violations at its Strathmore PD in Summerville ($19,000).

JOCO Construction LLC, for violations at its Liberty/Palmetto Point subdivision in Port Royal ($1,500).

Walton Construction-A Core Company LLC, for violations at its Third Recruit Training Battalion Complex-MCRD in Parris Island ($7,500).

Hyundai Power Transformers USA Inc., for violations at its Hyundai Heavy Industries in Montgomery, Ala. ($43,000).

Ryan Ridge Properties LLC, for violations at its Ryan Ridge subdivision, Montgomery, Ala. ($6,000).

The Estates at Northampton LP, for violations at its Estates at Northampton in Montgomery, Ala. ($8,000).

Biltmore Iron and Metal Company Inc., for violations at its Biltmore Iron and Metal Company in Asheville, N.C. ($9,000).

Ingles Market Inc., for violations at its Ingles Distribution Center in Black Mountain, N.C. ($6,000).

North Carolina Department of Transportation, for violations at its Upward Road State Route 83 in Hendersonville, N.C. ($15,000).

Windsor-Aughtry Company Inc., at its Riverstone subdivision in Fletcher, N.C. ($2,900).

Sullivan and Chase Commercial Properties, for violations at its South Medical College in Asheville, N.C. ($3,900).

Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The S.C. Department of Transportation was fined $21,000 and GSR Jedburg $19,000 after surprise March 29, 2011, inspections of two sites in Berkeley County by federal Environmental Protection Agency and S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control staffers.

The department and the company were among 12 in the Southeast region that had fines announced Monday for stormwater violations. The announcements closed the EPA’s lengthy review and settlement negotiation process.

Both fines were for sediment found in stormwater draining to nearby waterways. State DOT was cited for the violation at its U.S. Highway 17A widening project, where stormwater drains to Canterhill Swamp and then the Cooper River.

GSR Jedburg was fined for the violation at a 61-acre industrial development site off Interstate 26 at Jedburg Road, where drainage feeds to Dawson Branch and Cypress Swamp.

“We got ripped off,” said developer R. Gordon Darby, of GSR. A thunderstorm dropped two inches of rain just a few hours before inspectors showed up, he said. The construction crew already was on site making repairs. “It was an act of God. It’s just not right. They (the EPA) stonewalled us and we had no defense. I paid the fine and moved on.”

An EPA spokeswoman didn’t immediately respond to an email asking for the dollar range of fines that could have been assessed. Davina Marraccini, of the EPA, said the fines were “consistent with the penalty matrix.”

“In addition, some penalties are reduced if additional information is gathered during the show cause meeting,” she said.

A request to the Transportation Department for comment were not answered.

Reach Bo Petersen at 937-5744, @bopete on Twitter or Bo Petersen Reporting on Facebook.

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