EPA orders Aguadilla mall developer to comply with Clean Water Act
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently ordered the Kanaan Corporation to comply with critical Clean Water Act permitting and pollution reduction measures to address discharges of stormwater from a 19-acre site in Aguadilla, where the developer is building a commercial center.
This order is the latest in a series of enforcement actions taken by EPA to address stormwater violations from construction sites throughout the island.
EPA considers it a priority to assure compliance with the Clean Water Act due to increased construction activity across Puerto Rico, especially in coastal areas, it stated.
“Polluted stormwater harms waterbodies used for fishing and swimming and that provide critical habitat for marine life in Puerto Rico, so it’s imperative developers manage stormwater from construction sites in accordance with the Clean Water Act,” said EPA Regional Administrator Lisa F. Garcia.
“This order embodies EPA’s continued commitment to holding companies accountable when they violate critical laws that protect clean water and public health,” she said.
An EPA inspection earlier this year found that Kanaan lacked the proper Clean Water Act permits for discharges of stormwater from a site associated with the construction of the proposed Plaza Noroeste Shopping Mall on PR-2 in the Corrales sector of Aguadilla.
Kanaan has been discharging polluted stormwater from the site into a sewer system owned and operated by the Puerto Rico Department of Transportation and Public Works, which is connected to a creek that flows to the Culebrinas River and ultimately into the Atlantic Ocean.
The EPA has ordered Kanaan to develop a plan to fully implement erosion and sediments controls for the site in Aguadilla and apply for a new permit under the Clean Water Act’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System.
The EPA’s order also requires Kanaan to stabilize certain areas at the site and control the spread of dust.
When it rains, stormwater washes over the loose soil on a construction site, along with various materials and products stored outside. As stormwater flows over the site, it can pick up pollutants like sediment, debris, and chemicals from that loose soil and transport them to nearby storm sewer systems or directly into rivers, lakes, or coastal waters.
“The EPA works with construction site operators to make sure they have the proper stormwater controls in place so that construction can proceed in a way that protects your community’s clean water and the surrounding environment,” the agency stated in a release.