Thursday, March 11, 2010

Citizens Complaint, Covington Villas 03/11/10

To: EPA Region 4 and ADEM

Please accept the following complaint on behalf of John L. Wathen, Hurricane CREEKKEEPER©, Friends of Hurricane Creek, concerning Covington Villas.

Covington Villas, ALR164521

On 03/ 02,08,10/10, 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 03/10/10, 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.

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.

I spoke with city engineer Chad Christian about this after unsuccessfully trying to log a complaint on the city 311 line. Chad’s response here in below…
“I have asked Ronnie Pugh to address the concrete truck spills into the ROW and the erosion leaving the vacant lots (with the developer), and the Inspection Department to get the home sites in shape and the road cleaned up (by the builder). If we don’t get satisfaction by the end of this week I plan to go to the magistrate for violation(s) of the City code. We are committed to getting this right and everyone should know better by now.”

Covington Villas is still operating with no BMPs in place and failing BMPs or inadequately installed BMPs. I found NO warnings, stop work orders, or any indication of compliance. I believe this is another case of the city protecting developers from accountability. If this goes before a magistrate, which I doubt, it would be Mr. Burns second offense in a year.

ADEM, has caused no deterrent to Trick Construction and or Burns Construction and their consistent non-complaint conditions. 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)(( Trick is owner of Easton Place ALR16EAAY))

We therefore ask for EPA notices of violation and enforcement orders with penalty.

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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