The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) recently hit the City of Wilkes-Barre and Kingston Borough with penalties of $25,000 and $12,000, respectively, for violations of Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (“MS4”) requirements. The penalties are the result of audits of the municipalities’ MS4 Stormwater programs conducted by EPA in 2014. EPA’s audits found that the municipalities did not comply with documentation and public outreach requirements, among other things. For example, Kingston had a link on its website about its MS4 program, but the link would not open. One municipal official was quoted as saying “No one was actually taking them seriously.”
Both EPA and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (“DEP”) conduct audits of municipalities’ implementation of their MS4 Stormwater programs. Violations can result in compliance orders and penalties. The scope and requirements of the MS4 program are expanding this year, as will the likelihood of inspections by these federal and state environmental agencies.
Attorneys with Stock and Leader’s Environment, Energy, and Environmental Mediation Group closely monitor the evolving MS4 program requirements and regularly present at regional and statewide conferences on this topic. They also have experience conducting audits of municipalities’ MS4 Stormwater programs, in conjunction with municipal engineers, to identify shortcomings that may be corrected before audit inspections by EPA or DEP.