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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
2/24/03
03/15

 

Contact: Amy Cradic,
609-984-1795

DEP Fines Construction Corporation for Violating Water Pollution Control Laws:
Illegal Stormwater Runoff from Residential Development Impacts Local Wetlands

(03/15) Trenton— New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell today announced that Kaplan and Sons Construction Corporation, which is responsible for the La Mer residential development in Middlesex County, is being fined $208,500 for illegal stormwater discharges and for failure to prevent severe soil erosion runoff from impacting local wetlands.

“Kaplan’s failure to incorporate environmental safeguards into his company’s development practices is illegal, irresponsible, and dismissive of the public’s right to a healthy environment,” said DEP Commissioner Campbell. “We will no longer tolerate a situation that has languished far too long and resulted in ongoing damage to protected wetlands.”

The La Mer residential development is being constructed in phases along natural bluffs on Ernston Road in Sayreville, adjacent to Cheesequake State Park. As part of the site development, Kaplan Construction clear cut property along the bluffs and did not provide for proper stormwater control measures, which has resulted in serious soil erosion that is draining into wetlands and nearby Cheesequake Creek. The DEP has made repeated attempts, beginning with the issuance of a Notice of Violation (NOV) to Kaplan Construction in August 2000, to seek stormwater control compliance and alleviate the severe erosion occurrences.

On December 12, 2002, DEP inspected the La Mer development project and issued NOVs for failure to provide both temporary and permanent stabilization measures at two stormwater retention basins, and for failure to maintain temporary erosion controls to mitigate soil runoff and resulting siltation impacting area wetlands.

During a follow-up inspection on January 22, 2003, the DEP found that the stabilization of the basins was insufficient. Hay mulch was applied to two of the three basin embankments, but not the basin bottoms. Additional areas of soil disturbance also were discovered at the site, and there is a significant lack of erosion and sedimentation controls that are required under the site’s DEP permit.

Kaplan Construction is required by its DEP site permit to submit an Annual Report and Certification one year after receiving authorization for a project. For the phase of development impacting the bluff area, Kaplan failed to submit reports required by June 13, 2001 and June 13, 2002.

The DEP’s penalty assessment of $208,500 is based on violations of the New Jersey Water Pollution Control Act, including failure to properly maintain soil erosion and sedimentation controls. The penalty assessment includes a $35,000 fine for Kaplan’s failure to obtain proper permits for clearing and grading activities, and a $3,500 fine for failure to submit annual reports and certifications.

A copy of the DEP's Administrative Order and Notice of Civil Administrative Penalty Assessment issued to Kaplan and Sons Construction Corporation, Inc. is available upon request.

 

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