JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Miami-Dade County homebuilder, Juan Carlos Sainz, has been required to pay a $45,000 civil penalty and repay $222,482.96 plus $30,276 in interest to settle alleged violations of the Clean Water Act.
The civil penalty payment was the final action required by the homebuilder to resolve a Clean Water Act violation for failure to pay $222,482.96 in mitigation payments. In addition to paying the civil penalty and the missing mitigation payment, Sainz was required to pay more than $30,000 in interest for the time lag associated with the delinquent mitigation payment.
“Compliance and enforcement is an important component of the Corps’ regulatory program and helps us to ensure the continued protection of our nation’s aquatic resources,” said Theresa Hudson, chief of Jacksonville District’s enforcement section, “We take violations and unauthorized activities very seriously.”
In 2006, a Clean Water Act permit was issued to Sion Home’s Builders, LLC for the placement of fill material into 9.28 acres of wetlands for residential construction. As a condition of the permit, a mitigation payment was required to be made to the Miami-Dade County Wetlands Compensatory Trust Fund. The payment to the trust fund was to be used to enhance and restore wetlands in Everglades National Park and wetlands in county parks.
In February 2013, the Corps became aware only half of the mitigation payment had been paid. The Department of Justice, acting on behalf of the Corps, negotiated with the violators and filed a consent decree approved by the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida requiring payment of the remaining mitigation payment plus interest and a civil penalty of $45,000.
As part of the settlement, Sainz agreed to pay the outstanding mitigation amount plus interest and a $45,000 civil penalty.
The Clean Water Act requires a Department of the Army permit, issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), for the discharge of dredged or fill material into waters of the United States.