Sunday, January 2, 2011

Complaint cites negligence by developer, ADEM, and EPA

To: EPA Region 4
Attn: Mr. Jim Giattina,

Mr. Giattina,
Follow-up inspection WITHOUT prior notification to the developer at Jamestown Villas is required at this point. If you will not call them first and tell them you are coming the inspection will show significant violations that were present at the last visit and some more than a year old.

In my last correspondence with EPA, I pointed out that Mr. Tracy Chriss had certified the site WAS in compliance. I have since demonstrated that it is in fact still in the same state it was when Don Joe was here. The only exception is that more acreage has been disturbed. Has EPA taken steps to begin an investigation of possible fraud by Mr. Chriss? If not why? I am including PDF documentation of the condition here before the time of Mr. Chriss's letter immediately after and current. None of the conditions of concern have been met that I can see. This PDF only includes one specific fence but it shows the degree of both neglect and in my opinion misrepresentation by Mr. Chriss of total compliance.

Since this case first opened in 2008, I have demonstrated with color photos, video, and media coverage that Jamestown Villas is not and has never been in compliance. There is a civil case against the developer and inspection reports from both EPA and ADEM that prove non-compliant behavior on the part of Jimmie Burns Construction at Jamestown Villas. With all of the overwhelming evidence that supports my claim, I have to ask you why a single letter from field representative Tracy Chriss, not even credentialed as a QCP, is taken for the exoneration for all of my complaints? It appears that EPA and ADEM take the word of companies who are paid to make the developer look good over facts submitted by your own agency, ADEM, and me as a downstream impacted resident. I find this to be completely unacceptable.
If my evidence is in question, please state which documentation you need to have qualified, I have literally hundreds, possibly thousands of photos I can submit. I can get a number of residents surrounding the site to testify as to the validity of my claims yet the letter from Mr. Chriss seems to bear more validity that the hundreds of photos and video I have submitted since this began in 2008.

Two E-mails will follow this one with separate PDF documentation of the site as it exists today. 01/02/11. (seen here as slideshows below)


I now respectfully ask that someone from EPA criminal investigations look into this and contact me at all due haste. I can be reached here at this e-mail or my phone is 205-233-1689.

Can you explain why compliance tracking is turned off in ECHO for this violator?

Under environmental conditions it states that the discharge is not into an impaired stream. This is a false statement. The turbidity impairment in the EPA approved TMDL for Hurricane Creek covers the entire watershed. This needs revised to show the true nature of this violation. It is an impaired stream, the violations are persistent and ongoing, EPA and ADEM are less than diligent if you do not acknowledge this fact.

Environmental Conditions      

Case Number:    04-2010-4760        
Case Type:    Administrative - Formal    Result of Voluntary Disclosure?    No
Case Status:    Final Order Issued    Multi-media Case?    No
Regional Docket Number:    CWA-04-2010-4760    Enforcement Type:    CWA 309A AO For Compliance
Relief Sought:    No Data    Violations:    Violation Of A Permit Requirement
Enforcement Outcome:    Unilateral Administrative Order Without Adjudication
Since this lies in an impoverished neighborhood with a majority of people of color, (Holt, Cottondale) it is an EJ district and should be acknowledged in this section.
Demographic Profile of Surrounding Area (3 Miles)   
Radius of Area:    N/A    Land Area:    N/A    Households in area:    N/A
- No data records returned.

This site is and has been out of compliance since the first day. An order with no penalty that was issued for the flagrant violator found at JTV is only an invitation to continue the improper activity.

JTV is only one of many polluters in this impaired watershed who daily break the law and get away with it due to lack of diligent enforcement by EPA region 4. I truly believe that in stormwater issues,  ADEM is a failure. It is EPAs obligation to uphold the law when the state agency is and has been proven less than diligent. I believe I have met that requirement many times in the Hurricane Creek (TMDL) watershed.

EPA regards this as a "Minor" source. It is NOT minor when it drains polluted water into a TMDL protected stream with no compliance for over 2 years every day under ADEM and EPA negligence.

ADEM rep. Chip Crockett recently told me that ADEM "is not going to spend any more resources at JTV since you have called in EPA". Is EPA going to apply a penalty and or cease and desist that will deter this polluter from flagrantly ignoring the law and further damaging a protected stream... If not, why?

John L. Wathen
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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