The Nevada Department of Transportation is abiding by the terms of a federal consent decree aimed at resolving stormwater runoff violations, with only one unfulfilled requirement that must be met by the end of this year, officials said Monday.
A comprehensive stormwater management plan must be completed by Dec. 31 in order to fully comply with a settlement reached last year with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, said David Gaskin, head of NDOT’s Stormwater Management Program.
EPA spokeswoman Margot Perez-Sullivan confirmed Monday that NDOT “fully complied” with the consent decree and the two agencies are working together to fulfill the final stipulation.
“When we started this program, I was, at best, skeptical that we would have this much progress this quickly,” NDOT board member Frank Martin said.
The settlement stems from a 2011 audit by the EPA, which found that NDOT allegedly violated the terms of its stormwater permit by failing to implement a stormwater management plan that was required six year earlier.
Additionally, the state transportation department had not developed a pollution program for its maintenance facilities, created a discharge detection program or implemented a training program for employees.
More recently, NDOT launched a partnership with the University of Nevada, Reno and several other agencies to develop a sustainable water management program known as the Nevada Water Innovation Campus.
“People take our water for granted sometimes, and this really is a massive priority for me,” Gov. Brian Sandoval said.
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Fulfilling the consent decree
NDOT had already accomplished some the goals outlined in the consent decree by the time a settlement was reached last year with the EPA, including a $13 million investment to create the Stormwater Management Program.
NDOT also paid $120,000 in fines and spent more than $20 million on equipment and programs aimed at cleaning up stormwater runoff across Nevada.