Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Pennsylvania awards damages in stormwater runoff suit

Environment News Service: A Chester County jury has awarded $1.4 million to residents of North Coventry, Pennsylvania whose properties were damaged during construction of a nearby subdivision. In 2005, Christopher and Patricia Washburn and their neighbor, Joan Cleveland, sued the Heritage Building Group, the developers of Coventry Lake Estates, a 57-home subdivision in Pottstown, for polluting ponds on their properties with sediment from stormwater runoff.

The plaintiff property owners told the jury that the Heritage Building Group and a subcontractor, Reading Site Contractors of Pottstown, removed trees and excavated soil on nearly all of the 60-acre subdivision before putting erosion and sediment controls in place.

As a result, about 92,000 cubic feet of sediment ran off the Coventry Lake site and into a seven-acre pond on the Washburn property and a one-acre pond on the Cleveland property. The sediment smothered the two ponds, killing fish and causing algae growth, according to a report Saturday in "The Phoenix," a local newspaper….

Storm drain shot by Robert Lawton, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.5 License

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