Enforcement

Toll Brothers - Inc. Clean Water Act Settlement

(Washington, DC - June 20, 2012) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Justice announced that Toll Brothers Inc., one of the nation’s largest homebuilders, will pay a civil penalty of $741,000 to resolve alleged Clean Water Act violations at its construction sites, including sites located in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

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Overview of Company and Location of Sites

Toll Brothers, Inc. is one of the nation’s largest homebuilding companies. It designs, constructs, markets and sells residential properties with a focus on luxury homes.

This settlement covers 370 sites in 23 states including 40 sites located in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.  The number of sites in each of the states is:

  • Arizona: 15 sites
  • California:  26 sites
  • Colorado:  7 sites
  • Connecticut: 13 sites
  • Delaware: 9 sites
  • Florida:  37 sites
  • Georgia:  1 site
  • Illinois:  9 sites
  • Massachuttes: 10 sites
  • Maryland:  22 sites
  • Michigan: 13 sites
  • Minnesota:  3 sites
  • North Carolina:  11 sites
  • New Jersey: 43 sites
  • New York:  18 sites
  • Nevada:  21 sites
  • Ohio: 1 site
  • Pennsylvania: 55 sites
  • Rhode Island:  4 sites
  • South Carolina:  2 sites
  • Texas:  32 sites
  • Virginia: 17 sites
  • West Virginia: 1 site

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Violations

Failure to comply with the conditions of permits issued pursuant to CWA Section 402, U.S.C. § 1342, resulting in the discharge of pollutants in stormwater from construction sites, which is a violation of CWA Section 301.  Permit violations include the failure to stabilize disturbed soil and properly install and/or maintain stormwater controls such as silt fences, swales, sediment basins, sediment traps, storm drain inlet protection, and construction entrances and exits.

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Injunctive Relief

The Consent Decree requires Toll Brothers 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 includes:

  • Designation of a national stormwater compliance manager who will oversee the compliance program company wide
  • 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 Toll Brothers to document completion of all action items taken to achieve or maintain compliance at a site
  • A requirement that the division-level stormwater compliance manager conduct  oversight compliance inspections at every site within his/her division
  • A requirement that Toll maintain a database for tracking completion of all action items, generate weekly reports that will identify all outstanding action items at every site, and implement adequate management follow-up to ensure outstanding action items are corrected.
  • Implementation of a stormwater training program for Toll Brothers 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

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Pollutant Reductions

As a result of this settlement, EPA estimates the sediment discharged in stormwater runoff will be reduced annually by 217 million pounds from Toll Brothers sites nationwide, with a reduction of approximately 21million pounds per year within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

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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 that 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.  

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Civil Penalty

As part of the settlement, Toll Brothers has agreed to pay a total civil penalty of $741,000 to the United States and the states of Maryland and Virginia.  The penalty is allocated as follows:

  • United States:  $ 701,947
  • Maryland:         $   22,030
  • Virginia:           $   17,023

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State Partners

The states of Maryland and Virginia have joined EPA in this settlement.

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Comment Period

The proposed settlement, lodged in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, is subject to a 30-day comment period and final court approval.  Information on submitting comments is available at the U.S. DOJ website.

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For more information, contact

Susan D. Bruce
Office of Civil Enforcement, US EPA
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20460
(202) 564-8329
Susan Bruce (bruce.susan@epa.gov)

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