BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) – A New Jersey-based solar energy development company and Eversource Energy has agreed on a settlement following claims of illegal storm water discharge into wetlands in Southampton.
According to Massachusetts Attorney General, Maura Healey, CS Energy, LLC and Eversource will pay up to $310,000 to settle the allegations. The incident occurred while CS Energy was constructing an 11.7 acre solar array that Eversource owned.
“Solar energy is an important part of our state’s thriving clean energy economy, but developers must construct these projects in a way that complies with state laws and does not harm our natural resources,” AG Healey said. “In collaboration with our state partners, we will take action against those who violate our laws and pollute our waters.”
During the project, sediment-laden storm water discharged into Moose Brook. By doing so, the companies allegedly violated the Wetlands Protection Act and the Clean Water Act. According to AG Healey, the actions continued for several months, despite warnings from the project’s storm water environmental compliance monitor.
“Today’s settlement includes a significant component of local resource area protection.”
“The violation resulted in the alteration of protected resource areas, including Moose Brook, a Cold-water Fisheries Resource in Southampton. The settlement directs $70,000 toward the preservation of 8.7 acres of land near the site of the violation that is critical habitat, in addition to the significant monetary penalty and restoration requirements.”Michael Gorski, Director of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) reginal office in Springfield
The Commonwealth regulates storm water pollution under the state’s wetlands and clean water laws. Storm water pollution is recognized as a threat to water quality in the state.