Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Jamestown Villas complaint to EPA 01.19.10

EPA Region 4,

Please accept this citizen complaint on behalf of John L. Wathen and The Friends of Hurricane Creek.

This complaint will cover many days and show how both ADEM and the city of Tuscaloosa are both negligent in their performance of their duties to enforce the CWA at Jamestown Villas. Due to the size of the evidence being presented, I will use more than one e-mail to assure no problems in receiving them.

On Oct. 9 2009 Mr. Chad Christian removed a “Stop Work Order” from Jamestown after making these statements “I performed a follow-up inspection the Jamestown Villas site this morning. I observed and documented a number of improvements to the BMPs as well as the implementation of an outflow control device on the detention pond. Therefore you are permitted to resume full construction activity on the site, provided that your firm continues to monitor BMP performance and maintenance very closely. (from a letter in ADEM files)
1. On Oct. 7, I inspected the site. I found silt fences improperly installed and with holes throughout the project along Stone Creek… (see… pdf Jamestown villas 10.07.09)

2. I re-inspected the site on Oct. 10.09.09 and found the same deficiencies and documented massive loads of offsite sediment in Whitley’s Lake. (see.. pdf Jamestown Villas 10.11.09)

This leads me to the following conclusions…
a. Mr. Christian did NOT make a thorough inspection as he claims... or,
b. Mr. Christian needs supplemental training in proper BMP installation and maintenance.
c. The city of Tuscaloosa is in need of federal oversight as well as ADEM. Tuscaloosa is not implementing the conditions of their storm-water permit by consistently permitting projects known or suspected to violate the TMDL for Hurricane Creek.
i. In the case of Jamestown Villas, John McConnell, head of Tuscaloosa Planning Department made statements on the city record that the planners were skeptical of the plan and were suspicious that it would cause these exact problems. He then stated for the record that since the developer had spent a lot of money on the project, they HAD to give him the permit.
ii. At the time of Mr. Christians release to Jamestown Villas he states that “full construction” may be reassumed. There was NO approved NPDES permit for the facility. Tuscaloosa has an obligation to insure the projects in their jurisdiction follow all state laws. Permitting facilities not in compliance and without proper state permitting should be viewed as serious by EPA.
iii. In my opinion, the city has laid themselves open to a variety of actions from EPA, ADEM , and civil complaints.
iv. In an inspection report dated 12/14/09 authored by Gerald Martin and Josh Lang, there were many deficiencies noted and cited as violations. Mr. Christians assumption of compliance is proven wrong by Hurricane CREEKKEEPER and ADEM inspectors.

There is, a turbidity report dated 11/12/09 authored by Josh Lang and Jennifer Klepac show a significant violation with 69 NTU upstream and 235 NTU downstream and 290 in the lake directly across the road from Jamestown Villas. These results were after a 3” inch rain event.

A similar report submitted by McGuire and Ass. Show 9.46 NTU upstream and 14.9 NTU downstream. I submit that McGuire did not take the samples where they claim or there is an outright campaign of misinformation in my opinion stated by McGuire.

On Nov. 23 Mr. Michael J. McGuire affirmed in a letter to ADEM that
1. All BMPs are in place and properly maintained including sediment barriers, sediment basin, earth berms, diversion channels, and storm inlet protection.
2. All finished grades have permanent vegetative cover established.
3. All on site areas that do not have planned construction activities within the next 13 days have temporary vegetation in place.
4. He goes on to say that the sediment brush barrier in UT of Hurricane Creek will be removed and the stream channel returned to it’s pre-construction condition.
5. He further states that Jamestown Villas appears to be in compliance with ADEM regs “at this time”
On Nov 10, I inspected the site and found the discrepancies shown in PDF Jamestown Villas 11.10.09

I inspected again on 12/08/09 and photographed the same violations as on 11.10.09. (see pdf Jamestown Villas 12/08/09)

The conditions at the site were exactly as they were on the 11/10/09 visit. That indicated some problems with the signed letter from Mr. McGuire. If his statements are true then the only scenario would be that Jamestown repaired all deficiencies between 11/10/09 and 11/23/09 when Mr. McGuire signed the letter and then went out and returned them to the state of non-compliance shown in pdf 12/08/09 when I returned. I would have to believe that Mr. McGuire never saw the site and he is taking the word of untrained inspectors. Tracy Chris is the signer on many reports throughout the Tuscaloosa County area. His name appears in many reports for this watershed that have been called into question for validity.

I inspected the site again on 01/05 and 17/10 and found the site to be non-compliant in many areas. (see pdf 01/17/10)

In a letter dated 12/29/09 signed by Mr. Micheal McGuire, he states that
1. All solid waste and containers, treated wood, and all debris other than brush resulting from clearing site has been removed from the facility and properly disposed of at an off-site location.
2. All perimeter silt fences have been repaired, replaced or maintained as required. New ‘silt’ (sic) has been installed and properly trenched where needed.
a. I agree with this statement as written as there is new slit installed into the creek with every rain event)
b. In fact the views shown in my pdf will reveal many flaws Mr. McGuire denies exist. (see pdf trash piles 01/05/10 and pdf 01/17/10)

The trash shown in the photos is from new construction somewhere else and hauled into this site. Note the roofing shingles, cut off 2x4s and plywood normally found in roof construction. Unless they are hanging a roof in the air out there, this material should NOT bee seen here.

It is my opinion that this site is failing in many ways. It is also my opinion that ADEM and the city of Tuscaloosa are also failing here. This site operated for many months with the approval from the Tuscaloosa planners and engineers. The city council also has some responsibility in this for allowing the project to proceed with no state approved permit and flaws in the engineering as admitted to by John McConnell, head city planner.

EPA should begin an investigation as to the validity of submitter reports by McGuire at once.

As of this writing, none of the actions implemented or initiated by ADEM, Tuscaloosa inspections, or EPA have had any deterrent effect on this violator. We respectfully ask EPA to direct an investigation immediately into the responsibilities of all 3 agencies.

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