The average construction site releases 35-45 tons of sediment a year into our waterways. Studies show that 19% of the phosphorus in our lakes--an important nutrient that causes the growth of toxic algae--comes from construction site erosion. Numerous studies and groups, including Yahara CLEAN, have called for tighter enforcement of construction sites.
About this report
In 2009, a construction project on Spaight Street damaged the roots of numerous mature trees, requiring their removal. After this disaster, citizens resolved to hold contractors responsible for damage to the environment.
This blog will report on projects about Madison and Dane County, seeking to document how well contractors are practicing erosion control, tree protection, and other things of environmental concern. Do they go beyond the bare minimum required by our imperfect laws?
Our policy is to work with contractors to resolve problems. If problems we call attention to are resolved quickly, we will remove most photos from this site, and note the contractor has been responsive. If problems are not resolved, or there are three significant "violations" of sediment off-site, we may post a permanent "bad report," with many photos.
We are result-oriented, in contrast to government, which is rules-oriented. If we see muddy water or sediment coming off your construction site, "you're busted!," regardless of whether you followed the rules. We do this because the rules are imperfect, and we want to encourage contractors to use common sense, and observe their site during rain.
Recommendation from Madison's Subcommittee on Construction Erosion Control:
"The... Engineering Division should create a means to identify and recognize companies... who have implemented successful erosion control programs. A list of all projects completed without enforcement notices issued should be created and publicized. The... Engineering Division shall annually select the best three or four projects or construction companies that go above and beyond the minimum construction erosion control practices." More...