PORT ORCHARD –
A homebuilder faces a $53,000 penalty for failing to prevent muddy stormwater runoff from a construction site, which polluted a nearby creek and marine waters in Port Orchard.
The Washington Department of Ecology issued the fine to Gig Harbor-based Mike Paul Construction for violating six parts of Washington’s Construction Stormwater General Permit and an Ecology order at an 11-acre site at S.E. Horstman Road and S.E. Orlando Street.
The general permit requires builders to prevent pollution during construction, which exposes bare earth to rainfall and causes a high potential for erosion and runoff. Thousands of developers and contractors help protect Washington’s waterways from stormwater pollution by complying with these requirements.
The homebuilder allowed muddy water to flow off the site into city storm drains and into a creek that enters Sinclair Inlet, about one mile away.
Muddy water can damage the delicate membranes in fish gills and cause other harm to aquatic life. Stormwater is considered Puget Sound’s leading water quality threat.
“This is a steep, sloping site, making it all the more important to follow the general permit requirements in order to prevent the problems we’ve seen at this site,” said Heather Bartlett, who manages Ecology’s Water Quality program. “We advised, then ordered the company on repeated visits to put the needed practices in place.”
Ecology inspectors observed violations in November and December 2015 in which Mike Paul Construction failed to:
The company also violated an Ecology order, issued Dec. 17, 2015, to cease discharging stormwater until it met the permit’s water quality requirements.
The city of Port Orchard – which had issued a temporary stop work order in October 2015 – assisted Ecology with the investigation.
The company has addressed some of the violations, such as sampling all the discharge locations, but remains out of compliance with the Dec. 17 order.
Mike Paul Construction may appeal Ecology’s penalty within 30 days to the Washington State Pollution Control Hearings Board.