Home repair workers face stiff fines in Texas flood
HONOLULU — Home repair technicians have been fined in the wake of Tropical Storm Harvey, which flooded much of Texas and the Gulf Coast in the week leading up to the storm.
In addition to the fines issued by the state’s Department of Water Resources, the Houston-area contractor responsible for the installation of more than 1,500 pipes and plumbing fixtures at homes was ordered to pay $25,000 in court costs.
The state’s department of water resources issued the $25 million fine Tuesday in the state district court in Houston, where the city of Houston is also a plaintiff in the lawsuit.
The department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The fines follow the $18.5 million fine issued by a Texas judge last week for a company in Houston that had to pay the city’s insurance company $6.6 million after the city said it was underinsured by $16.6 billion.
In January, the federal government asked a judge to block the state from enforcing its order in the case, saying it was too expensive for the state to enforce.
That ruling was upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
The company involved in the Houston case was not named in the federal court ruling.
The Texas Department of Environmental Quality said in a statement that the agency had completed the investigation and determined the contractors were not responsible for flooding.
The fine is the latest in a series of costly penalties for contractors who work on projects that were deemed inadequate by the Texas Department for Environmental Quality.
In January, a contractor paid $30,000 for failing to provide proper flood control fencing in an area near an interstate highway.
In December, the Texas attorney general sued two companies for failing in their responsibility for an infrastructure project in the city where the state has jurisdiction.