2020 Environmental Real Estate Issues

In 2015, as a result of an environmental audit, a multi-state freight carrier reported to EPA that several of its facilities did not have stormwater permits or did not comply with stormwater discharge requirements.

Violations Continued
Beginning 18 months after the company’s initial report, and continuing for over three years, EPA and several state agencies conducted inspections of the company’s facilities. These inspections revealed multiple facilities that continued to be out of compliance with stormwater requirements.

Settlement Requires Penalty and Compliance Program
On March 20, 2023, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) announced the company had agreed to pay $535,000 in civil penalty and implement a “comprehensive, corporate-wide stormwater compliance program.” According to DOJ’s news release, the company allowed spills to go unaddressed, failed to implement required spill prevention and control measures, missed required monitoring events, and did not adequately train employees.

The compliance program, implemented over three years, will include better documentation of stormwater operating procedures, roles, and responsibilities; comprehensive employee and contractor training; and tracking of facility-specific corrective actions.

To see DOJ’s news release, which includes a link to the proposed consent decree https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/national-freight-carrier-pay-civil-penalties-and-implement-stormwater-compliance-measures

Thanks to my firm colleague and long-time friend Robert E. “Robin” Morse for the news that Texas facilities subject to the Multi-Sector General Permit must submit electronic Discharge Monitoring Reports for all required monitoring as of March 31, 2023. Electronic submission will be through the NetDMR electronic reporting system and require an account with EPA’s Central Data Exchange.

For more information https://www.tceq.texas.gov/permitting/stormwater/industrial/TXR05_dmr.html