Despite the plastic cover, most of the site is still exposed to wind and tires.However, most of the Findorff site (next to the Kohl Center) is still bare, the gravel pad is still inadequate, and much dust is still being tracked out. The clouds of dust I saw blowing from this site originated from the gravel pad area on the west side of the site, not from the soil now covered with plastic.
Even when bobcat sweepers are used at the end of the day, they are quite ineffective.
What's needed is for city street sweepers to clean busy streets near construction sites several times a day, during construction. These machines are designed for the task and more effective than bobcats.
Another essential to control the dust is to make tire washing a requirement at construction entrances. Tire washing is already an approved BMP, but never used in Madison (to my knowledge).
Contractors argue there isn't room on most construction sites. They say there would be a problem with the water and mud produced. It's true that some construction sites are very tight.
But at the Findorff site next to the Kohl Center, we have a construction site producing huge quantities of dust in the air--and mud on the streets... but this entrance is IDEAL for tire washing.
There's plenty of room on pavement, outside the entrance and away from traffic, to wash tires.
Stormwater drains or grassy areas nearby could accept filtered effluent.
Most of the muddy water from washing tires could be recycled, to be used again.
This "dumpster filter" was set up by Miron Construction at a very crowded site to filer muddy water.
A similar filter could be used by Findorff to recycle tire-washing water. When the dumpster fills with mud, it could be dewatered using the bag filter (foreground), then carted off for disposal.
Findorff has a perfect location to wash tires. There really isn't any excuse not be a responsible member of the community at this site.
Construction--still out of control, after 40 years of effort
The construction industry is the last large industry without sufficient control of pollution.
There are good regulations, and progress has been made--but not enough to control the problems of pollution from construction.
Nineteen percent of the phosphorus pollution in Madison's lakes still comes from construction erosion, and you can easily see how construction downtown contributes to our severe air pollution.
The reasons for failure are complex--but in a nutshell:
- It IS difficult to control construction pollution, due to cramped and disorganized sites, changing weather, and a multitude of subcontractors.
- Byzantine regulations and fuzzy responsibilities.
- Lack of political will. The City or State agencies are policing themselves.
- Unlike permanent factories, construction sites are dispersed and temporary.
Ray Cattell's illegal dumping**Construction sites are just one part of a larger industry. To understand the full impact of construction, you have to also consider production of concrete (and other pavements), mud on roads, dumps, quarries, and the recycling or disposal of concrete and other construction rubble.
The City (or State) wants to keep costs down for construction projects. For this reason, they are lax in planning and enforcing to reduce erosion and dust from construction.
Contractors feel competitive pressures to bid low on dust and erosion control measures.
So ultimately, it's the responsibility of government to raise the bar and enforce higher standards.
Everyone complains about escalating healthcare costs. Yet construction in Madison is adding to medical costs. When a child is rushed to the emergency room with a severe asthma attack, there's no smoking gun saying a contractor was responsible. But scientifically and statistically, the connection is there--the link has been proven with 50 years of public health data.
This is not what SUSTAINABILITY looks like.
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