The Alabama Department of Environmental Management (“ADEM”) and USS Real Estate (“USS”) have entered into a Consent Order (“CO”) regarding alleged violations of a general NPDES permit ( Stormwater) (“Permit”).
The OC anticipates that USS is a developer undertaking a residential subdivision development (“Facility”) in Jefferson County, Alabama.
It is stated that the construction of the facility has the potential to release sediment and other pollutants in stormwater runoff in an unnamed tributary of Hurricane Branch (a state water).
USS reportedly submitted a Notice of Intent (“NOI”) to ADEM requesting NPDES coverage under NPDES General Permit ALR100000 for regulated disturbance activities and treated stormwater discharges from the facility. Authorization has been granted for the Permit.
ADEM reportedly observed during inspections of the facility on August 8, 2019, February 6, 2020 and July 1, 2020, that USS had not properly implemented and maintained effective Best Management Practices (“BMPs”) in violation of the permit. . In addition, the CO predicts that during the inspections mentioned above, significant accumulations of sediment resulting from releases at the facility were observed by ADEM flowing into the Hurricane branch.
The CO indicates that the water samples from the discharge of the installation recorded a turbidity of 1.41 NTU, upstream of the installation, and a turbidity of 309 NTU downstream of the installation (according to the inspection of August 8). During the inspection on July 1, 2020, ADEM analyzed water samples taken at the facility’s landfill which indicated a turbidity of 69.7 NTU, upstream of the Facility, and a turbidity of 172 NTU downstream of the Installation.
ADEM reportedly sent USS a letter of non-compliance on February 18, 2020. USS provided a response on March 25, 2020, describing the corrective measures that would be implemented to correct the violations found.
USS neither admits nor denies ADEM’s allegations.
USS reportedly indicated that there was no evidence of sediment accumulation or other impacts on Hurricane Branch or any other off-site location. In addition, the company refers to an ADEM site monitoring inspection which did not identify any significant deficiency. Spectrum Environmental (which performs monthly QCP inspections at The Preserve) was asked to perform an inspection in April 2020. It is said to have provided a document indicating that the facility was in compliance.
The February 6, 2020 ADEM inspection was declared by the USS to have been conducted in the midst of a rain event that exceeded the 2 year and 24 hour design storm event for Jefferson County . Accumulated precipitation is expected to be problematic for BMPs to function as intended under such circumstances.
Spectrum also performed a routine monthly QCP inspection following the ADEM inspection on July 1, 2020. It is said to have documented that the required BMPs were in place and that the site has stabilized.
A civil fine of $ 26,900 is imposed.
A copy of the CO can be downloaded here.