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U.S. fines Toll Brothers $741K for stormwater runoff at sites

PHILADELPHIA — National homebuilder Toll Brothers Inc. will pay a $741,000 fine and implement changes in managing stormwater runoff at its home construction sites, federal officials announced Wednesday.

Maryland and Virginia have joined the settlement and will receive a portion of the $741,000 penalty.

The consent decree was filed in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia against Horsham, Pa.-based Toll Brothers, which was accused of more than 600 violations of the Clean Water Act at its home sites in 23 states.

The federal law requires builders that disturb land to obtain permits and minimize runoff from rain, which can carry solvents, concrete dust, paint, oil and other contaminants from construction sites into storm drains and pollute nearby waterways.

A spokesman for Toll Brothers declined to comment when contacted Wednesday.

The Justice Department said also in a news release that Toll Brothers will improve compliance with water quality requirements at its construction projects nationwide and establish a company-wide program to improve employee training and management oversight.

“This settlement will help protect the nation’s waters from the harmful pollutants contained in stormwater runoff from construction sites,” said Ignacia Moreno of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division.

Officials said most of the violations involved the homebuilder’s lack of compliance with permits at its construction sites, including requirements to install and maintain adequate stormwater pollution controls.

The complaint is the latest amid a nationwide crackdown by the Environmental Protection Agency on stormwater violations at construction sites. The consent decree must be approved by the federal court and undergo a 30-day public comment period before becoming final.

The settlement includes Toll Brothers home construction sites in Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.