By Andrew H. Perellis and Craig B. Simonsen

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and The Ryland Group Inc. (Ryland Homes), have filed a proposed consent decree to resolve Clean Water Act violations. The complaint, filed simultaneously with the proposed consent decree in the U.S. District Court in Charlotte, N.C., alleged violations that were discovered through site inspections and from documentation submitted to the government by Ryland Homes.

As noted in the DOJ press release, the alleged violations included failure to obtain permits until after construction began, failing to obtain permits at all, and failing to comply with permit requirements at sites where Ryland Homes did obtain permits. The alleged permit violations included not developing complete stormwater pollution prevention plans, failure to conduct adequate inspections, and failure to install or implement adequate stormwater controls or practices.

Ryland Homes agreed to pay a civil penalty of $625,000 to settle the dispute. Ryland Homes will also invest in compliance programs to improve employee training and increase management oversight at all current and future construction sites. The company is also required to inspect its current and future construction sites routinely to minimize stormwater runoff from sites.  The Company will submit national compliance summary reports to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) based on quarterly oversight inspections.