Nashville, Tn. (AP) -- The state has issued record fines against several builders cited for letting mud and chemicals from their construction sites wash into waterways.
Fines up to $1 million fell on five large-scale developments this week, the largest fines ever given out in Tennessee for storm water pollution that didn't involve road construction.
Authorities say chemical-laden silt washing into creeks and rivers is the state's worst water-pollution problem.
They say it drives up taxpayers' costs for clean drinking water and chokes out the aquatic creatures that waterways need to stay healthy.
Paul Sloan, State Deputy Commissioner of Environment and Conservation, says the state has come up with a strategy to crack down on violators by levying fines more quickly and targeting the worst offenders.
But some developers say the stiff fines end up being passed on to consumers through higher home prices.
(Copyright 2007 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.)