(Washington, DC – November 29, 2011) Lafarge North America Inc., one of the largest suppliers of construction materials in the United States and Canada, and four of its U.S. subsidiaries have agreed to resolve alleged Clean Water Act violations. The violations include unpermitted discharges of stormwater, and failure to comply with stormwater permits at 21 stone, gravel, sand, asphalt and ready-mix concrete facilities in Alabama, Colorado, Georgia, Maryland, and New York. Stormwater flowing over concrete manufacturing facilities can carry debris, sediment and pollutants including pesticides, petroleum products, chemicals, and solvents, which can have a significant impact on water quality.
Lafarge North America Inc., headquartered in Herndon, Va., is the largest diversified supplier of construction materials in the United States and Canada. The company produces and sells cement, ready-mixed concrete, gypsum wallboard, aggregates, asphalt, paving construction, precast solutions and pipe products.
The company operates concrete plants, aggregate plants, and cement plants in the US and Canada. The companies (collectively Lafarge) included in this Clean Water Act (CWA) settlement are:
Lafarge North America Inc.,
Lafarge Building Materials, Inc.,
Lafarge West, Inc.,
Lafarge Mid-Atlantic, LLC, and Redland Quarries NY, Inc.
The settlement resolves violations at 21 facilities:
Alabaster Ready Mix Alabaster, Ala.
Argo Ready Mix Trussville, Ala.
Cumming Ready Mix Cumming, Ga.
35th Avenue Aggregate Greeley, Colo.
East Rigden Aggregate Fort Collins, Colo.
Evergreen Ready Mix Evergreen, Colo.
Specification Aggregate Golden, Colo.
Minturn Ready Mix Minturn, Colo.
Drennan Ready Mix Colorado Springs, Colo.
Vollmer Asphalt Colorado Springs, Colo.
Marriottsville Aggregate Marriottsville, Md.
Jessup Ready Mix Jessup, Md.
Frederick Aggregate Frederick, Md.
Rockville Ready Mix Rockville, Md.
Freedom Aggregate Delevan, N.Y.
River Road Ready Mix Tonawanda, N.Y.
Genessee Ready Mix Lancaster, N.Y.
New Road Ready Mix Niagara Falls, N.Y.
Gasport Aggregate Gasport, N.Y.
Lockport Aggregate Lockport, N.Y.
Niagara Falls Aggregate Niagara Falls, N.Y.
Lafarge violated CWA Sections 301, 308, and 402 at 21 facilities in five states, when it failed to obtain and/or comply with its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits. The alleged violations include the following:
- Discharges of wastewater without a permit
- Violations of NPDES effluent limits
- Failure to apply for and have coverage under the “Multi-Sector General Permit for Stormwater Discharges Associated with Industrial Activity” (MSGP)
- Unpermitted discharges of stormwater
- Failure to implement conditions of the MSGP at certain facilities
The Decree requires the development and implementation of an extensive management and reporting system designed to provide increased oversight of Lafarge’s ground operations and ensure greater compliance with the stormwater requirements for 189 Lafarge facilities.
The program consists of:
Training all personnel with operational responsibilities
Implementing a management structure with specified inspections and evaluations
Reporting on stormwater issues
Conducting compliance assessments at all facilities that the company owns and/or operates
Lafarge will also develop and implement a corporate-wide Environmental Management System. EPA estimates that Lafarge will spend approximately $8,000,000 over five years to implement these management practices.
As a result of this settlement, EPA estimates that Lafarge’s efforts under the Decree will eliminate approximately 20 million pounds of total suspended solids and more than 122,000 pounds of nitrates.
Health and Environmental Effects
Discharges of stormwater runoff, including runoff from concrete manufacturing sites, can have a significant impact on water quality. As stormwater flows over a concrete manufacturing facility, 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.
Supplemental Environmental Projects (SEPs)
Lafarge will implement two SEPs. The company will execute two conservation easements to protect approximately 166 acres in Maryland and Colorado. The total appraised value of the Maryland and Colorado properties is $2,950,000.
Both properties are located in ecologically sensitive areas, and their preservation in their natural state will help protect water quality. Moreover, conservation easements will ensure that the properties are not lost to commercial or residential development in the future.
Finally, Lafarge will implement a Colorado state SEP. The company will provide $10,000 to the Western States Project, an organization that conducts environmental training for state inspectors.
Lafarge will pay a civil penalty of $740,000 to resolve this matter, divided as follows:
$524,361 to the United States
$153,556 to Maryland
$62,083 to Colorado
The states participating with the United States in this settlement are Colorado and Maryland.
The proposed settlement, lodged in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, is subject to a 30-day comment period and final court approval. Information on submitting comments is available at the Department of Justice website
For more information, contact:
Melissa K. Raack
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20460
Kelly Kaczka Brantner
1200 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20460
SOURCE: U.S. EPA