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Solar Farm Company Fined for Water Violations on the Portneuf River

Idaho State University

A California-based company has agreed to pay $600,000 for restoration efforts to the Portneuf River in Pocatello after it violated the Clean Water Act.

Swinerton Builders has built solar farms to slow the effects of climate change

in multiple areas across the country, however the company failed to comply with

environmental protection requirements. Now, the company is forced by the EPA and

DOJ to pay a 2.3 million dollar penalty to be divided among affected states.

Specifically, a press release from the EPA stated, “Swinerton failed to use proper

stormwater controls,” and “did not conduct regular site inspections.” Their neglect to

comply with these regulations has allowed destructive sediment into nearby waterways.

Assistant Director for the EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance David

Uhlmann stated, “Illegal stormwater discharges from construction projects can

contaminate municipal drinking water systems and harm aquatic life.”

Not only will the company pay its civil penalties to both the state and federal

governments, but the settlement also requires them to mitigate the damage caused by

their projects.

The $600,000 will go towards a restoration project on the Portneuf River which aims to

remove the harmful sediment discharges in the area. This will also help to restore and

reconnect the riparian and wetland habitat near the river. The EPA also stated

Swinerton has been fined for similar violations back in 2022.

I'm Hadley, a freshman student in Communications in Multiplatform Journalism at ISU. I am the Sports Editor for The Bengal Newspaper on campus, and love reporting both sports and student life stories. In addition to radio broadcasts, you might hear me on the upcoming Bengal Podcast with my fellow journalists at The Bengal!