Construction runoff at Legoland New York spurs 22 violations

Construction runoff at Legoland New York spurs 22 violations

Source:, April 21, 2019
By: Kim Slowey

Dive Brief:

  • The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation cited Legoland New York’s owner and contractors with 22 new violations this month in an effort to prevent continuing discharge of construction runoff from the $500 million project into local waterways, the Tribune Herald-Record reported. The total fines attached to these latest violations total $228,050.
  • The state’s order, like a previous one it issued in September 2018 for similar violations at the park’s construction site, is directed at Legoland owner Merlin Entertainments; Pearl River, New York-based general contractor Holt Construction; and local engineering firm Lanc & Tully. The order gives them 10 days to stabilize eroded soil and 30 days to come up with a new erosion control plan.
  • Since May 2018, the state has cited the project 27 times for polluting waterways, and the Town of Goshen has issued one citation. Project officials have said that above-average rainfall has contributed to the runoff, as has a town mandate that requires crews to move excavated dirt around the site due to a ban on trucking in or removing soil in order to keep construction trucks off local roads.

Dive Insight:

Some local activists also have opposed the project on the issue of damage to local waterways and to otherwise environmentally sensitive areas of the Hudson Valley region since it was first announced in 2017. Also, according to the Herald-Record, there is a pending legal action against the town of Goshen alleging officials conducted a substandard environmental review before allowing the project to move forward.

Consent decrees as they regard environmental issues are not always between public and private entities. In New York, the DEC, under a long-standing Order of Consent with the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), requires that the city agency reduce combined sewer overflows into public waterways and bodies of water like Long Island Sound.

At the federal level, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also enters into these agreements with state and local agencies. Burns & McDonnell, along with local firm Bonton Associates, recently won a contract from the city of Shreveport, Louisiana, to oversee a $1 billion sewer system overhaul required under an EPA consent decree.

The agency initiated the action in 2009 after a series of sanitary sewer overflows in Shreveport. If the city makes the required updates according to the 12-year schedule, it will avoid further legal action from the EPA, as well as $500 to $2,500 per day in penalties.

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