Environmental Policy News

EPA Orders Companies to Comply with Clean Water Act to Restore Wetlands in Rincón, Puerto Rico

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it has taken an enforcement action against Calrincón Corp. and Karimar Construction Inc. for discharging fill material into wetlands without a permit in the Municipality of Rincon, Puerto Rico.

“Building on wetlands without permits causes flooding, destroys important wildlife habitats and decreases the quality of life for communities," said Lisa F. Garcia, EPA Regional Administrator. "EPA will enforce the Clean Water Act and other environmental laws to protect public health and the environment.”

Karimar Construction Inc. discharged fill material into wetlands on Calrincón Corp’s property without the required Clean Water Act (CWA) permit. Using mechanized equipment, Karimar Construction placed approximately 8 feet of fill material above the existing grade in approximately 0.89 acres of wetlands.

EPA has ordered Karimar Construction Inc. to remove the fill material placed on wetlands within eight months and allow the wetlands to naturally regenerate with native vegetation within five years from March 14, 2023.

Wetland restoration and protection are important to maintain critical wildlife habitat, help meet state and tribal watershed goals and contribute to economic well-being. Through this action, EPA helps in achieving these goals for the benefit of sensitive coastal ecosystems and communities in Rincon.

This area of Rincón is vital for recreational purposes and is near Tres Palmas Marine Reserve, a marine reserve established in 2004 through community-driven efforts that protect the Tres Palmas surfing break, along with endangered coral species.

The CWA was established in 1972 to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the Nation’s rivers, lakes and streams, as well as some of the more fragile and vital wetland habitats. CWA’s Section 404 requires a permit from the Secretary of the Army, acting through the US Army Corps of Engineers, before dredged or fill material may be discharged into waters of the United States, including wetlands that are subject to federal jurisdiction.

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