LENEXA, Kan. — Pilot Travel Centers LLC, the largest operator of truck stops in North America, has agreed to pay a $121,469 civil penalty to resolve alleged violations of the federal Clean Water Act (CWA) at 17 of its facilities in Iowa, Missouri and Nebraska, according to a news release from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
“Protecting our nation’s waters from harmful pollutants preserves them for use today and for future generations,” said EPA Region 7 Administrator Meg McCollister. “Companies need to be held accountable for serious, widespread violations that endanger watersheds and human health.”
According to the EPA, for years, “Pilot violated the terms of CWA permits issued to those 17 facilities by discharging pollutants exceeding prescribed permit limits into streams.”
Two of those Pilot facilities, in Warrenton, Missouri and Gretna, Nebraska, had the most serious pattern of violations, including consistently high levels of E. coli, ammonia and other pollutants.
“Less significant violations took place at the other 15 facilities covered by the agreement, which are located throughout Iowa, Missouri and Nebraska,” according to the EPA news release. “Since EPA identified the violations, Pilot has taken steps to return all 17 facilities to compliance.”
As part of the settlement, Pilot also agreed to conduct compliance audits at 20 of its other facilities in Iowa, Missouri and Nebraska. If the audits reveal additional violations of the CWA, Pilot must submit a plan to EPA to return to compliance and the company could be subject to additional penalties. The settlement is part of a nationwide effort by EPA to address CWA noncompliance at Pilot truck stops.
The Clean Water Act seeks to protect the nation’s water resources.
“Pollutants in stormwater and wastewater can violate water quality standards, pose risks to human health, threaten aquatic life and its habitat and impair the use and enjoyment of waterways,” according to the EPA. “Under the CWA, facilities are prohibited from discharging pollutants into water bodies, unless they are in compliance with a permit issued by EPA or an authorized state.”
The penalty settlement with Pilot Travel Centers LLC is subject to a public comment period before it becomes final.
Information on how to submit comments is available by clicking on the Public Notice link on EPA’s website.
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