The United State government and four states have filed suit against a suburban Philadelphia-based home-building company for allegedly violating federal environmental regulations.
The lawsuit, filed June 20 at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, alleges that the Environmental Protection Agency and local and state environmental officials discovered more than 600 violations of the Clean Water Act at 14 Toll Brothers’ construction sites between 2003 and 2009.
The violations were discovered during inspections at the various sites, located in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Maryland and Virginia.
Toll Brothers, which is based in Horsham, Pa., just outside of Philadelphia, designs, constructs, markets and sells luxury homes in 21 states across the country.
It is billed as one of the nation’s largest homebuilding operations.
In addition to Toll Brothers Inc., various company subsidiaries are named as defendants in the lawsuit.
The lawsuit states that the violations observed during EPA, as well as state and county inspections of the Toll Brothers’ sites, indicate a “pattern of failures” by the company to comply with the requirements of environmental permits.
The self-inspection reports that Toll Brothers provided to the EPA also demonstrate recurring storm water permit violations, as well as a continued failure to remedy the violations in a timely manner, the complaint states.
“Toll Brothers has a pattern of failing to comply with the requirements of the State General Permits that could or did result in discharges of storm water pollutants from the Sites,” the lawsuit says.
The violations include failure to implement and maintain erosion control measures such as silt fencing, soil stabilization, construction track-out pads, inlet protection and sediment traps as required by law.
The lawsuit claims that Toll Brothers’ alleged violations resulted in the disturbance of five acres or more of land at each of the construction sites.
The lawsuit was jointly filed by Justice Department attorneys with the Environmental and Natural Resources Division as well as federal prosecutors from each of the affected states.
The lawsuit seeks to have Toll Brothers comply with the terms and conditions of the Clean Water Act, as well as develop and implement appropriate storm water pollution prevention plans.
The lawsuit also seeks civil penalties against Toll Brothers of up to $27,500 per day for each violation occurring after Jan. 29, 1997 through and including March 15, 2004; $32,500 per day for each violation occurring from March 16, 2004 through Jan. 12, 2009; and $37,500 per day for each violation occurring thereafter.
The federal case number is 2:12-cv-03489-MSG.