Enforcement

Beazer Homes USA, Inc., Settlement

(Washington, DC - December 02, 2010) Beazer Homes USA, Inc., a national residential homebuilder, has agreed today to pay a $925,000 civil penalty to resolve alleged Clean Water Act violations at its construction sites in 21 states, the Justice Department and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced. As part of the settlement, Beazer will also implement a company-wide stormwater program to improve compliance with stormwater runoff requirements at current and future construction sites around the country.

On this page:

Overview of Company and Facility Locations

Beazer Homes USA, Inc. (Beazer) is a Delaware corporation that designs, constructs, markets and sells a variety of residential properties. It is among the top ten homebuilding operations in the country based on revenues and number of new homes sold.

The lawsuit covers 362 sites in twenty-one states; 20 sites are located in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

  • Arizona: 17 sites
  • California: 26 sites
  • Colorado: 9 sites
  • Delaware: 5 sites
  • Florida: 45 sites
  • Georgia: 26 sites
  • Indiana: 30 sites
  • Kentucky: 6 sites
  • Maryland: 12 sites
  • Mississippi: 1 site
  • North Carolina: 46 sites
  • New Jersey: 8 sites
  • New Mexico: 3 sites
  • Nevada: 9 sites
  • New York: 3 sites
  • Pennsylvania: 1 site
  • South Carolina: 22 sites
  • Tennessee: 39 sites
  • Texas: 45 sites
  • Virginia: 8 sites
  • West Virginia: 1 site

Top of Page

Alleged Violations

  • Discharge of pollutants in stormwater without a permit pursuant to Section 301 of the Clean Water Act (CWA) 33 U.S.C. §§ 1311
  • Failure to provide information in the form of permit applications to the EPA Administrator pursuant to CWA Section 308, 33 U.S.C. §§ 1318
  • Failure to comply with the conditions of permits issued pursuant to CWA Section 402, U.S.C. § 1342. Violations of permit conditions include the failure to design, implement and maintain adequate best management practices (BMPs) at construction sites.

Top of Page

Injunctive Relief

The consent decree requires Beazer to implement a compliance program that will ensure adequate management and oversight of construction sites and compliance with National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES), stormwater permits. The compliance program, valued by EPA at approximately $9,487,384, includes:

  • Designation of a company stormwater compliance manager who will oversee the compliance program nationwide
  • Designation of trained and qualified site-level and division-level stormwater compliance managers for each site who will be responsible for compliance at that site
  • Specific requirements for site-specific stormwater Pollution Prevention Plans
  • A requirement to conduct and document a pre-construction inspection and review at every site prior to commencing construction activity
  • Requirements for routine site inspections including the use of standardized forms approved by EPA which require Beazer to document completion of all responsive actions taken to achieve or maintain compliance at a site
  • A requirement that the division-level stormwater compliance manager conduct an oversight compliance inspection and review at every site within his/her division once every calendar quarter
  • Implementation of a stormwater training program for Beazer employees that includes annual refresher training for stormwater compliance managers
  • Implementation of a stormwater orientation program for contractors
  • A requirement to submit national compliance summary reports to EPA; the national compliance summary reports are based on each division's summary of its quarterly oversight inspections and reviews

Top of Page

Pollutants Reductions

As a result of this settlement, EPA estimates the sediment discharged in stormwater runoff to be reduced annually by:

  • 304,266,216 pounds from Beazer sites nationwide, with approximately 10,400,000 pounds reduced to the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

Top of Page

Health and Environmental Effects

Discharges of stormwater runoff, including runoff from construction sites, can have a significant impact on water quality. Construction activities alter natural landscapes. During construction, earth is compacted, excavated and displaced, and vegetation is removed. These activities increase runoff and erosion, thus increasing sediment transported to receiving waters. In addition to sediment, as stormwater flows over a construction site, it can pick up other pollutants such as debris, pesticides, petroleum products, chemicals, solvents, asphalts and acids which may also contribute to water quality problems.

Sediment-laden runoff can result in increased turbidity and decreased oxygen in receiving waters, which in turn results in loss of in-stream habitat for fish and other aquatic species. Sediment can kill fish directly, destroy spawning beds, suffocate fish eggs and bottom dwelling organisms, and block sunlight resulting in reduced growth of beneficial aquatic grasses. In addition, sediment can impact the treatment of drinking water resulting in higher treatment costs, and can result in the loss of drinking water reservoir storage capacity and decrease the navigational capacity of waterways.

Top of Page

Civil Penalty

As part of the settlement, Beazer has agreed to pay a total civil penalty of $925,000 to the United States and the states of Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Nevada, Tennessee and Virginia. The penalty is allocated as follows:

United States $ 731,336
Colorado $ 11,467
Florida $ 57,335
Indiana $ 38,223
Maryland $ 15,289
Nevada $ 11,467
Tennessee $ 49,690
Virginia $ 10,193

Top of Page

State Partners

The states participating with the United States in this settlement are Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Nevada, Tennessee and Virginia.

Top of Page

Comment Period

The proposed settlement, lodged in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval. Information on submitting comment is available at the Department of Justice website.

Top of Page

For more information, contact:

Melissa Raack
U.S. EPA
1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington DC 20460
(202) 564-7039
Melissa Raack (raack.melissa@epa.gov)

Top of Page