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Eye On Boise

ITD to pay more than $1M in fines for clean water violations in Highway 95 work

The Idaho Transportation Department has agreed to pay more than $1 million in fines for Clean Water Act violations related to construction on Highway 95 south of Coeur d'Alene, including an additional $774,000 in fines it'll pay now on top of the $325,000 it paid in 2008. The agreement between ITD and the EPA is part of a settlement that also ends five years of annual audits of ITD by the EPA to monitor compliance; in addition, ITD made various improvements in its practices over the past five years as part of its agreement with the EPA, including requiring winter shutdowns for contractors, strengthening compliance rules for contractors, and improving training. Click below to read ITD's full announcement.


Transportation department's measures to keep waterways clean satisfy EPA

BOISE – The Idaho Transportation Department has implemented measures to keep the state’s waterways clean and will no longer be annually monitored by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The two agencies agreed to an annual audit in June 2006 after construction of U.S. 95 south of Coeur d’Alene.

“We share the EPA’s commitment to preserving the quality of our waterways,” said ITD Deputy Director Scott Stokes. “As good stewards of the environment, we want to do everything possible during construction to protect Idaho’s natural resources.”

In the last five years under an agreement between the two agencies, additional environmental measures for construction, training, inspecting and reporting were implemented by ITD.

 Among the changes were:

    *           Implementing winter shutdown requirements for contractors

    *           Developing a training program for inspectors, resident engineers, designers and contractors

    *           Strengthening requirements for contractor compliance  

    *           Increasing monitoring and reporting procedures

    *           Utilizing third-party inspections of projects in environmentally sensitive areas

    *           Submitting an annual report to the EPA

 During the early portion of the agreement, a number of administrative deficiencies were identified.

“The settlement was related to administrative deficiencies, and none were directly related to discharges into Idaho’s waterways,” Stokes emphasized. Many of the non-compliance issues resulted from contractor or third-party actions, he explained.

ITD and the EPA negotiated an administrative settlement of $744,000 to resolve all issues dating to back 2006.

“We expect to continue improving those processes as part of our commitment to accountability and transparency. I am pleased this process is concluded,” Stokes said.

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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