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Violations lead to fines for construction firm serving Maryland

You don't have to work in the construction industry to know that breaking ground on a new project involves much more than a few hard hats and a press conference. Construction regulations can be incredibly complicated and it takes either vast knowledge and experience with them, or the hiring of a professional who knows them, to avoid costly violations.

A company that builds homes across the country has been ordered to pay a fine of $741,000 for more than 600 violations of the Clean Water Act, having failed to properly manage stormwater runoff at construction sites in 23 states, including Maryland. The Clean Water Act requires construction companies to secure permits before disturbing land and make efforts to minimize runoff from rain at building sites. This runoff often carries pollutants including chemical solvents, concrete dust, paint and oil, which then flows into storm drains and contaminates local waterways.

The company failed repeatedly to comply with permits at its construction sites that require it to effectively manage stormwater runoff by installing and maintaining pollution control systems. As part of its settlement, the homebuilder will improve its compliance with water quality requirements at its current projects, establish a program to adequately train employees and improve management oversight.

The consent decree filed against the Pennsylvania-based company must still be approved by the federal court, and go through a 30-day public comment period before it becomes final. It's just the latest action taken by the Environmental Protection Agency, which has been cracking down on stormwater violations nationwide.

Stormwater runoff is just one of the many categories of regulations builders are required to follow. The list of these regulations is long, and it's not unusual for a construction company to run into legal roadblocks in its efforts to complete a project. Rather than get sidetracked by these complications, company owners can benefit from seeking the services of an attorney who's well-versed in regulations and can work with them to make sure their project stays on track -- and on firm legal ground.

Source: Delmarvanow.com, "COURTS: Builder fined $741K for violations in Maryland, other states," Joann Loviglio, June 20, 2012

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