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EPA orders Cliff Villas developers to halt runoff at construction site

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently ordered the Cliff Corp. and Grupo Caribe, LLC to stop discharges of stormwater and runoff coming from the Cliff Villas Hotel and Country Club construction project in Aguadilla from flowing into the Atlantic Ocean.

The proposed 86-villa project is in the Borinquen sector of Aguadilla and comprises about 9.5 acres of land.

This order is the latest in a series of enforcement actions taken to address stormwater violations from construction sites throughout the island.

EPA stated it considers it a “priority to assure compliance with the Clean Water Act due to increased construction activity across Puerto Rico, especially in coastal areas.”

“Uncontrolled stormwater runoff can cause serious problems for the environment and people in Puerto Rico, including impaired opportunities for fishing and swimming, so it’s imperative developers manage stormwater from construction sites in accordance with the Clean Water Act,” said EPA Regional Administrator Lisa F. García. 

“This order embodies EPA’s commitment to holding companies accountable when they violate critical laws that protect public health and the environment,” she said.

EPA’s investigation found inadequate erosion and sediment controls and stabilization measures. EPA concluded that the developers began work at the site and discharged pollutants into the Atlantic Ocean without the required Clean Water Act permit authorization.

The federal agency has required the Cliff Corp. and Grupo Caribe LLC to submit an action plan within 30 days of the receipt of the order and take steps to come into compliance and properly control discharges from the site.

The EPA order also requires the Cliff Corp. and Grupo Caribe LLC to provide monthly reports describing the status and progress of the actions taken to comply with the provisions of the order.

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.

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 the community’s clean water and the surrounding environment, it explained.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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