Lafarge must create environmental executives as condition of EPA settlement

By Michael P. Tremoglie | Dec 1, 2011


RESTON, Va. (Legal Newsline) - The Environmental Protection Agency has settled with Lafarge North America Inc., a large construction materials supplier in the United States and Canada, as well as four of its U.S. subsidiaries, to resolve alleged Clean Water Act violations.

The settlement includes a fine and the creation, within the company, of the positions of environmental vice president and two environmental directors.

The violations involved storm water discharges at 21 facilities in Alabama, Colorado, Georgia, Maryland, and New York. According to the EPA, because they come from concrete manufacturing facilities, such discharges can have a significant impact on water quality. Storm water discharges can carry debris, sediment and pollutants, including pesticides, petroleum products, chemicals and solvents.

"EPA is committed to protecting America's waters from polluted storm water runoff," said Cynthia Giles, EPA Assistant Administrator for the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. "Today's settlement will improve storm water management at facilities across the nation, preventing harmful pollutants from being swept into local waterways."

Lafarge will implement a nationwide evaluation and compliance program at 189 of its similar facilities in the United States to ensure they meet Clean Water Act requirements. Lafarge will also pay a penalty of $740,000 and implement two supplemental environmental projects, in which the company will complete conservation easements to protect approximately 166 acres in Maryland and Colorado.

The company must also identify an environmental vice president, responsible for coordinating oversight of compliance with storm water requirements, at least two environmental directors, to oversee storm water compliance at each operation, and an onsite operations manager at each facility.

It is estimated that Lafarge will spend approximately $8 million over five years to develop and maintain this compliance program.

The complaint, filed in federal court with the settlement, alleged a pattern of violations since 2006 that were discovered after several federal inspections at the company's facilities.

The settlement is the latest in a series of federal enforcement actions to address storm water violations from industrial facilities and construction sites around the country. The states of Maryland and Colorado are co-plaintiffs and have joined the proposed settlement.

Lafarge is required to pay the penalty within 30 days of the court's approval of the settlement.

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