Thursday, February 25, 2010

Covington Villas, ALR164521 complaint

Please accept the following complaint on behalf of John L. Wathen, Hurricane CREEKKEEPER and Friends of Hurricane Creek, against Trick Construction, Covington Villas, ALR164521.

On 02/20,21,22,/10, Covington Villas had the following violations…

Failed to properly install and maintain BMPs
Failed to contain construction debris
Allowed off-site tracking of mud and construction debris into streets
Failed to provide adequate ground cover throughout the entire development
Failed to provide approved gravel drive entrances to construction sites.
Failed to provide adequate stormwater inlet protection.
Failed to maintain sediment basin.
Failed to provide adequate slope grade vegetation.
On 02/22/10, allowed turbid, silt laden water to leave the site into the unnamed tributary to Cottondale Creek.

This developer has been operating since 03/09 with no NPDES permit. All discharges into the unnamed tributary to Cottondale Creek have been “unpermitted discharges.
 All violations here are city permitted while the developer has NO NPDES discharge permit.
On 02/20/10, I flew over the site and photographed many issues.

1.     Offsite tracking was evident throughout the site and throughout the completed section of residences.

2.     Multiple inlet boxes throughout with no protection.

3.     Ground cover throughout the entire site is too sparse and has not been kept consistent

4.     Slopes surrounding the site are bare in many places with failing or non-existent BMPs.

5.     On 02/20/10, Bama Concrete truck was washing out fresh concrete into unnamed tributary of Cottondale Creek.

a.     This was done at the instruction of onsite contractors according to Bama contact.

b.     Each site should have a designated wash out area where the waste can not come in contact with storm drains or streams.

On 02/21/10 I returned to the site to ground-truth my photos and found the same conditions listed above with the exception of the Bama truck. There was evidence in many places to indicate where concrete trucks have been using this site for washing trucks for some time.

On 02/22/10, Tuscaloosa received 0.16-inch rain. I visited the Covington Villas site and found the following violations.

1.     Turbidity in the unnamed tributary was slight in comparison to heavier rains but evident.

2.     Many BMPs that were failing on previous visits had not been repaired or replaced.

3.     BMPs that were non-existent were still missing.

4.     Construction debris was in the streets and creek.

5.     Off site tracking was evident at every construction location.

6.     Inlets that were not protected on previous visits were still unprotected.

In all, I found many of the exact same issues during these last visits that were present since construction began. There seems to be an attitude of non-compliance with this developer, as with most in Tuscaloosa. It is my opinion that this comes from the lack of diligence by the city of Tuscaloosa over single homebuilders and ADEM for overall site compliance. Neither enforcement branch has demonstrated the will and or ability to issue adequate enforcement.
On 02/22/10, I returned and took the following photos, no corrections had been made. Turbid, silt laden water entered the unnamed tributary of Cottondale Creek.
The city of Tuscaloosa issues every house-building permit on the site. They have the ability and authority to demand $500.00 per day, per violation. Since late 2007 there has NEVER been a single fine issued or collected at this location. There has been no attempt by Tuscaloosa engineers or planners to address the 32% reduction called for in the TMDL for Hurricane Creek. All of this is direct evidence of non-complaint behavior on the part of Tuscaloosa as well as the developer. In this case, there is actually a Tuscaloosa building inspector living in the subdivision. He drives through the violations, dirt, and mud daily. He lives next door to one of the worst sites out there. His lack of action is a direct indicator of Tuscaloosa’s unwillingness to enforce the regulations.

ADEM, for the most part has been completely impotent in causing any deterrent to Trick Construction and or Burns Construction and their consistent non-complaint conditions since at least 2007. Warnings and orders issued are ignored for the most part. Even EPA Region 4 has had little effect of the conditions of the site. (Burns is also owner of Jamestown Villas, ALR16ECN5)

 Until Tuscaloosa, ADEM, and EPA step up to the plate and penalize these consistent violations, they will never stop.

 John L. Wathen

Hurricane Creekkeeper,
Friends of Hurricane Creek

Members of

Who has the authority to say someone else
is not being a good steward of the environment?

Anyone who notices.

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