Two projects on the shore of Lake Mendota--reconstruction of the theater, and construction of Alumni Park--have not been properly inspected for erosion control.
Boldt Construction is the contractor
The University of Wisconsin is in violation of its erosion control permit for construction at the Memorial Union and Alumni Park on the waterfront. Gary Brown of the UW is the permittee, and Danielle Hunt of DNR supervises the permit.
. A Dallas hobbyist was testing his camera-equipped drone last November.... And when he looked at his images after the flight, he saw something suspicious. A creek, running past a meat-packing plant, had turned blood red.
On Saturday, May 19, 2012, the south portion of Westgate Mall was being demolished on a windy day, sending much dust NE into residential areas.
Since this was the first mall in Madison, built in 1960, some of the construction materials contain asbestos. The dangers of asbestos weren't widely recognized and regulated until the 1970s--asbestos use in the US peaked in 1973.
This site (including the other side of the building) is 1.4 acres, and hence requires an erosion control permit from both Shorewood and the DNR. Findorff has an erosion control permit from Shorewood. Karl Frantz of Shorewood is the one responsible for this project.
It's true that rain gardens are being installed in these new parking lots, which will reduce sediment and pollution runoff. Yet the lifecycle savings in pollution from these gardens must be balanced against the pollution that occurs during construction.
Those gardens may last and provide sediment reduction for 30 years? Yet, a severe rainstorm during construction could cause as much sediment erosion and loss as 10-20 years of those hoped-for reductions. In other words, poor erosion control during construction could negate a large percentage of the benefits of a rain garden project. It's like throwing money down the stormsewer.
All four gravel pads are too short and too narrow.
Stormwater inlets in the streets nearby have no filters.
Concrete washout was poured down this storm sewer behind the Credit Union. While there was a filter inside, the highly alkaline water will go right through the filter. It washes to University Bay, and has the potential to cause a fish kill there.
Concrete dust will come back to bite you in the end.
On April 25, 2012, personnel from ALL-TIM-IT Landscaping, Waunakee, WI, were working without dust protection on S. Owen Dr in Madison, WI.
Concrete dust is highly alkaline and corrosive. It can also cause silicosis of the lungs.
Two small children were present at this house during the work. One was outside. The family had not been warned about the danger from dust.
One solution to the dust is to use a saw that is water-cooled. This converts the dust to a slurry. However, many contractors do not dispose of the slurry properly. It is illegal to discard it into the gutter or storm sewer.
Just one example of a widespread problem
The concrete industry is not sustainable, and is headed for trouble. We have reported elsewhere in this blog about widespread abuse in the disposal of concrete slurry and washout.
The public is frequently exposed to dust from slurry in streets, or the mixing of concrete products.
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...