Construction company building Falmouth school faces federal fine

Staff reports

TLT Construction Corp., the company working on the Falmouth High School building project, faces an administrative penalty of up to $157,500 for violating requirements of the federal Clean Water Act at the Reading High School construction site.

In May 2004, TLT began construction of Reading's new high school. In April 2007, an EPA inspector inspected TLT’s construction site and observed failed construction, storm water erosion and sediment controls, as well as construction debris in the Aberjona River, according to EPA officials.

The EPA determined TLT was discharging storm waters from the site into public waters without authorization.

TLT failed to apply for coverage under the EPA’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System General Permit for Storm Water Discharges from Construction Activities, agency officials said. The EPA also determined that TLT failed to update its storm water pollution prevention plan, document construction site erosion and sediment control inspections, and maintain records. EPA also found that TLT failed to comply with State and local wetlands bylaws.

Stormwater runoff from construction activities has the potential to significantly impact the water quality of receiving waters. As storm waters flow over a construction site, they can pick up and transport certain pollutants, such as oil and grease from petroleum products, metals from paints and sealants, sand and aggregate from unstable material stockpiles, and solvents and construction debris.

Contaminated stormwater runoff can harm or kill fish and or other aquatic wildlife. Uncontrolled stormwater runoff from a construction site can affect an aquatic habitat and cause stream bank erosion and flooding.

Stormwaters from TLT’s construction site discharged in to the Aberjona River, which flows into the Upper and Lower Mystic Lakes, which in turn flow into the Mystic River, and finally to the Boston Harbor.

Last month the Massachusetts Division of Capital Assets Management, announced it was seeking to decertify TLT Construction. Decertification would prevent the company from bidding on any municipal construction project. The decision came after a three-month investigation by DCAM, which in turn was brought about by the Attorney General’s investigation of fraud on the part of TLT in a prior project.