Saturday, November 20, 2010

Camden Lake Complaint 11/19/10

Please accept the following complaint on behalf of John L. Wathen, Hurricane Creekkeeper and Friends of Hurricane Creek.

This is a large file so I will break it down into 3 separate e-mails.

On 08.19.09, BGD, Camden Lake. NPDES # ALR 16B471 was cited for violating the consent order issued by ADEM. In this order BGD agrees to “ensure immediate and future compliance with AWPCA, applicable ADEM Regulations. This is not the case. BDG is now in significant non-compliance with the order and CWA standards. It is our belief that few of the benchmark dates for compliance have been met. We also believe that ADEM is negligent in their duties to follow up and ensure compliance.

Today the conditions remain mostly unchanged. While there is a better overall appearance for the subdivision, there are still major problems that have never been addressed and still today cause turbid runoff.

It is my opinion that the better appearance is due to the fact that there are fewer houses under construction. The ones that have been built to completion were done so in uniform significant non-compliance and no action from either ADEM or Tuscaloosa City.

The newest Platt map shows permanent and temporary vegetation on all slopes. There is some grass on slopes but hardly consistent and not at all complete permanent cover.
(photos A-1 thru A-4)
(E- 9,10, 12,)

The new Platt map shows the Camden Lake to be a sediment basin. We have repeatedly pointed out that the lake is not a sediment basin and is not constructed to serve that purpose. (E-2, A1_4)
The lake is, in fact located in a watershed lake that was once a fishing pond known to locals and landowners prior to its destruction. It was a beaver established lake with a long history of good water and good fishing. (SEEN BELOW)

A sediment basin is constructed with a stand-pipe that forces storm surge to accumulate in the pond before overflowing. Camden Lake has a continuous overflow, as natural lakes do. The spillway is not constructed as to force any retention time for storm surge from the sites.

Williamsburg, and Abbey Trace both have properly constructed sediment basins on their sites. They can be seen under construction in the 06 aerials.

Camden Lake development, by contrast has no approved sediment basin anywhere on the site. Large areas of the road leading into the development drain directly into the unnamed tributary with no contact with even the lake.

Camden Lake is operating without retention facilities and with ADEM approval. In-stream treatment of pollutants is prohibited by the CWA.

There are no homebuilder sites under construction at either Abbey Trace or Williamsburg. There are some issues at Williamsburg that I will send as a separate complaint but it safe to say that MOST if not all turbidity seen in the in-stream Camden Lake and the creek below are in fact from BGD, Camden Lake Subdivision and poor standard of care.

On several occasions recently I have visited the site and found the same poor standard of care as in the beginning. There are only one or two houses are being built at a time but ALL have been built with bad or non-existent BMPs for a 100% failure rate.

Bare slopes surround the entire development site in large patches. Erosion is evident throughout. It seems that most of the grass used to vegetate the slopes was temporary and not maintained. Slopes we have pointed out along the lake are still eroding into the lake just above the overflow into the creek.
(B 1,2 &10)
(C- 1, 2, 6, 7, &9)
(D- 3&7)
(E- 2, 6, 9, 10, &12)

House construction sites have minimal and poorly placed BMPs at best. None that I have seen were installed properly or maintained after installation.
(A-1 THRU 4)
(B- 2,3, &4)
(C- 2, 3, 4, 8, & 9)

Drains are not covered directly in line with failing or non-existent BMPs and eroded slopes.

(A-  1-4)

(B-  (B- 2, 3, &4)

(C-  1, 2, & 8)

(D-  4, &7)

(E- 2 ,6, 9, 10, &12)

On lot 31 there has been a ditch dug to run storm-water off the back of the site where the creek is. No BMPs exist.
(C-8 &9)
(D-2 &6)
(E- 5 &7)

Concrete trucks routinely wash out chutes in the grass and track mud into the streets. No facility has been constructed for this purpose.
(D-  4, 5, &7)


No approved gravel entrances to construction areas.
(A –1-4)
(B- 3, &4)
(C- 3, &8)
(D- 4 &5)

The pavement is in bad condition and in need of completing. The potholes are allowing pavement debris to accumulate in the street, gutters, and in the unnamed tributary to Cottondale Creek. Sidewalks along this stretch are eroding and without proper vegetation. Mud from here runs unchecked to the drains leading directly into the creek, bypassing the in-stream lake. The worst of the eroding pavement and sidewalk is on Mary Ford Blvd. where the drains run directly into the creek, not into the in-stream lake being used improperly as a sediment trap.
(B-5 THRU 10)

This site has been repeatedly reprimanded and ordered to reach compliance. It has not and never has seen total compliance yet all reports sent in by their engineers state otherwise. We have repeatedly proven that the reports here and at many others were not accurate at best. We would like to see EPA take a serious look at the engineers who knowingly sign off on these failing sites. If EPA looks closely at the most problematic sites in the Hurricane Creek watershed, you will find the same people signing off on failing permits. If there are criminal charges that EPA can file, then by all means it should.

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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