Las Vegas Sun

July 24, 2014

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Builders pay up for alleged water violations

Four of the nation's largest residential builders have agreed to pay $4.3 million - including $182,000 to the state of Nevada - in a settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protect Agency for alleged violations of the Clean Water Act.

Centex Homes, based in Dallas; KB Home, based in Los Angeles; Pulte Homes, based in Bloomfield Hills, Mich.; and Richmond American Homes, based in Denver illegally discharged pollutants such as silt and debris into storm water runoff, according to the EPA.

The four builders accounted for more than 124,000 home closings in 2006, and are among the top 10 builders nationally for revenue and home closings. Nevada's share of the settlement money will go to the state's Environmental Protection Division to be used for "environmental protection and environmental restoration programs," according to division spokesman Dante Pistone. "With budgets shrinking, the additional funds will be put to good use."

Pistone also added that there is a 30-day public comment period on the Settlement and it has yet to pass the muster of a federal court. The companies will have 30 days to pay the $4.3 after court approval. Pistone said the division has been working with the companies, the EPA and six other states on the settlement since last February.

The companies will also implement company-wide compliance programs, according to the EPA.

The program will "keep 1.2 billion pounds of sediment from polluting our nation's waterways each year," according to an EPA press release. Separate settlements with each of the four builders resolve alleged violations of storm water run-off regulations at construction sites in 34 states and the District of Columbia.

Centex will pay about $1,485,000, KB Home will pay about $1,185,000, Pulte $877,000 and Richmond $795,000.

Pulte also agreed to spend $608,000 reducing the amount of sediment going into a northern California watershed and improve the habitat for aquatic life.

The other states involved in the settlements are Colorado, Maryland, Virginia, Missouri, Tennessee and Utah.

According to the EPA release, "the settlements are the latest in a series of enforcement actions to address storm water violations from construction sites around the country."

Find more information here.

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