The Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) recently settled with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of Justice and the Nevada Department of Environmental Protection (NDEP) over stormwater management violations.
The settlement stems from a 2011 EPA audit, during which inspectors found violations of NDOT’s stormwater permit. The federal Clean Water Act requires NDOT to minimize the amount of pollutants in runoff, which flows from unpaved areas, paved streets and maintenance yards into the state’s lakes and rivers, carrying contaminants like sediment, trash, chemicals and oils.
Following the EPA’s discovery of the violations, the state passed a law to ensure stormwater impacts were minimized and authorized $13 million in spending to create a stormwater division in NDOT with 59 full-time employees. The state also spent $7.6 million on equipment and authorized a further $15 million for related projects this year.
Through the settlement, NDOT will also establish a stormwater management program, pay civil penalties to the EPA and NDEP totaling $120,000 and spend $200,000 on an environmental projects that will give the public real-time updates on water quality.
“Nevada’s Governor (Brian) Sandoval has shown great leadership by investing in the newly-established stormwater program,” EPA Acting Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest Alexis Strauss said. “Water is a vital resource in the arid West, and this agreement will help preserve and protect Nevada’s rivers and streams.”