Coosa Riverkeeper Notifies Eddleman of Intent to Sue for Pollution

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On April 16, Coosa Riverkeeper, represented by the Southern Environmental Law Center, notified Doug Eddleman of their intention to file suit for violations at the Village at Highland Lakes Development in Shelby County.

“Sediment from the construction site at the Village at Highland Lakes Development is inundating the river system, posing a threat to wildlife and water quality for Fowler Lake, Yellow Leaf Creek, and Lay Lake of the Coosa River. Sediment is one of the leading causes of water pollution in Alabama, and developers have a responsibility to ensure that their operations do not harm water quality for downstream communities who rely on these waters for fishing, swimming, navigation, and drinking water supplies.”

Frank Chitwood, Staff Riverkeeper
Construction stormwater from The Village at Highland Lakes enters Yellowleaf Creek at Fowler Lake in this horrifying photo that has become a reality.

At construction sites, dirt is carried away by rainwater and into the nearest stormwater ditch or stream. That sediment muddies the water which harms wildlife, and eventually settles out of the water and onto the bottom of the river, which negatively impacts both wildlife and recreation. In addition to sediment, the sheer volume of water that crashes into streams from uncontrolled construction sites causes erosion and flooding, sometimes overtopping roads, filling private and public lakes, and damaging private property. 

Under stormwater permit requirements, developers must utilize Best Management Practices to prevent uncontrolled volumes of sediment from being washed away and to reduce the turbidity in downstream waterways. At the Village at Highland Lakes, Coosa Riverkeeper has documented that those measures continue to be woefully inadequate, and have filed a Notice of Intent to Sue to give the developers 60 days to comply with the requirements of their permits.

Stormwater from The Village at Highland Lakes in such great quantity that it flooded over a road.

 

Also, on April 4, Cahaba Riverkeeper, represented by David Ludder, notified Taylor Burton Company of its intention to file suit for violations at the South Bend Subdivision in Vestavia. These actions represent a critical first step in the Riverkeepers’ new campaign to enforce stormwater permits intended to protect creeks and rivers from polluted run-off from construction sites after rain.

“Stormwater runoff, and the sediment that comes with it, affects recreational opportunities, damages public and private property, and increases water treatment costs. We are hoping that this campaign will bring developers who fail to comply with the requirements of their permit back into compliance.”

David Butler, Staff Riverkeeper and Attorney for Cahaba Riverkeeper