Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Local Color

 Local Color

Frances Drennen co-owner Manna Grocery and John L. Wathen, Hurricane Creekkeeper

A collection of photo prints by John L. Wathen.

All photos, and framing are creations from the area’s scenic places and history. The frames are all handmade by John using repurposed wood from the tornado that struck Tuscaloosa and Holt area on April 27, 2011. Using a portable sawmill and select logs, the more interesting wood found in the local area was used. Many of which most people have never seen.

About the Prints

“Foggy Dog” was taken on Hurricane Creek in early fall.
“The Bridges” was taken from the downstream angle of the old railroad bridge and the Lurleen Wallace Bridge. A Parker Towing vessel is seen maneuvering the spans.
Foggy Dog, top  The Bridges, bottom
 “Fall Sunrise” was taken in the heart of what is known as the “M” band of Hurricane Creek (upper left)
 “Misty Shoals” is in the upper section of Hurricane Creek, known as the low water crossing.
(upper middle)
“Marshall Presley Falls” was taken in the lower section of Hurricane Creek on the Marshall property. Jack Marshall was a good friend of Elvis Presley. While playing a concert in Tuscaloosa Elvis actually came to the property for a visit and helped stack some of the rocks to make this man-made fall. (or so the story goes)
(upper right)

 “T’town Sunset” was taken at the Manderson Landing park looking south.
“Bama Belle” was taken in the Black Warrior River of the excursion boat Bama Belle.

“Walking Heron” was taken at the mouth of Hurricane Creek where it joins the Black Warrior River.
“American Kestrel / Legacy” is a bird at the Alabama Wildlife Center.  His name is Legacy. He was born with deformed talons making it impossible to hunt adequately so he has been glove trained for education purposes.No matter where you stand in the room, his eyes follow you.

 About the frames:
The lighter colored, with dark black streaks are “spalted Poplar”
Spalting is any form of wood coloration caused by fungi.

The lighter brown colored frame around “Foggy Dog” is Mountain Oak, rarely milled today.

The frames around both bird prints are Eastern Red Cedar.

The frame around “Bama Belle” is Red Oak.
Most of these trees were blown down in the tornado of April 27, 2011 and would have gone to the landfill if not for the Friends of Hurricane Creek and their successful mission of repurposing every stick of wood downed by the tornado.

The dark colored rough-cut frames around “The Bridges” and “T’town Sunset” are recycled Cherry barn wood.


All large prints are $400.00 each

The 2 smaller prints are $250.00 each

For more information, contact
John L. Wathen
On Facebook, John Wathen

Manna Grocery and Deli
2300 McFarland Blvd. E.

Suite 12

Tuscaloosa, AL 35404

Phone:  (205) 752-9955

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Environmental Injustice In Perry County

PCA Landfill 07/13/09
 (click to enlarge then
top right hand corner to return to story)


  Environmental Injustice In Perry County

51 years ago today Dr. Martin Luther King gave his infamous, "I have a dream" speech. Unfortunately that dream is more like a nightmare for the people of South Perry Co. Alabama.

To say that the PCA landfill in Perry County Alabama has improved since I first saw it would be an accurate statement on the surface. It doesn't mean the long range impacts have gone away. (click to enlarge. Upper right "X" to return to story)

The first aerial photo, courtesy of SouthWings was taken 07/13/09 and the second almost exactly 5 years later. All of the black mountain you see in the first shot is coal ash dumped here from the Kingston Tn. coal ash disaster in the Clinch and Emory Rivers. It was brought to Perry County in "burrito" bags to keep it from blowing dust into the white affluent community of Swan Pond and Kingston Tn. Basically it was treated like a hazardous material. 

Coal ash from Kingston Tenn. in dust proof "Burrito bags"
Of course that wasn't the way it was treated on arrival at the Uniontown terminal at PCA landfill.On Arrival it was unceremoniously ripped out of the bags, dumped on the ground directly over a culvert to Tayloe Creek, and then to cleanse the cars for the long trip back to Kingston they intentionally used several high pressure fire hoses to wash the coal ash into the tributary of Tayloe Creek.
Unloading facility
Unloading and washout

Wetland downgrade from the washout facility.
Catfish farms downstream from PCA landfill (Eat more catfish)
 This was at the peak of shipments from Tenn. The ash was so wet because it had to be dredged out of the river. 

Being full of river water when it arrived in Perry Co. created special problems of it's own. South Perry County is located on top of what is known as the Selma Chalk layer.

This formation is a type of soft rock type material not given to percolation. Water discharged to the surface tends to stand and puddle rather that soak into the earth. With the additional moisture from the ash and poor soil quality it caused an inordinate amount of toxic leachate to be present in the landfill. Wiki has this to say about leachate...

Environmental impact (WIKI)

"The risks from waste leachate are due to its high organic contaminant concentrations and high concentration of ammonia. Pathogenic microorganisms that might be present in it are often cited as the most important, but pathogenic organism counts reduce rapidly with time in the landfill, so this only applies to the most fresh leachate. Toxic substances may however be present in variable concentration and their presence is related to the nature of waste deposited."

In Perry County they were dumping toxic Arsenic laced coal ash and mixing it with household garbage. The leachate produced was not only high in Ammonia but added toxins from the coal ash, Arsenic, made this a cocktail of the most nasty smelling and nauseating substance I have ever encountered. I caught the landfill pumping toxic leachate out of the landfill at night.

Recently I had the opportunity to fly over the area with SouthWings once again. Along with observing the landfill I was asked by locals to document conditions at the Southeastern Cheese plant and an alleged failing sewage "spray field" operated by Uniontown Alabama.
Note the mold looking substance growing on the sign! Copyright JLW, all rights reserved
If you have never been around a cheese plant, you can't possibly imagine the stench and filth associated with one. The stream leading away from Southeastern to a small creek suprised even me!

 It was boiling with something I had never seen. Toxic is a word that doesn't pay justice to the smell and appearance of this particular tributary. I was told about how bad it was but until I saw and smelled it up front I couldn't grasp the impact. The water was boiling with septic bubbles that indicate a severe problem. Where is ADEM?

tributary immediately downstream from Southeastern Cheese.
Maybe they are different in other places but here it is what I saw that is overseen by ADEM (Alabama Department of Environmental Maniacs) In this photo (below) you are looking at the waste processing area where whey is pumped into open lagoons.
The white / brownish looking pond is full of what amounts to rotted buttermilk (whey).  I am told that it is circulated to keep it liquid and flowing so it can be "processed" by the remaining segments of the treatment area.
As you can see there isn't much in the way of treatment going on.
One pond looks and smells as bad as another.
Permitted ADEM point of discharge is in the lower right corner.
After "treatment" in the ponds the effluent water is sprayed in fields surrounding the ponds. Again, the stench of this is almost unbearable. I couldn't imagine what the poor folks living around it have to endure on a daily basis.
Note the cattle grazing in the upper section right next to spray fields. (EAT MORE BEEF)
I saw gray looking semicircles along the tree lines. That is where the effluent is killing the trees. The "Final effluent discharge" is sprayed. Look at the dead semicircle lines in the trees and then look how close to where the cows are grazing. 
Note cows grazing in upper left (Eat more beef)

If this were in a completely rural area it might be different. It isn't! Directly across from the "waste treatment" spray fields at Southeastern Cheese is a heavily populated subdivision. Can you imagine what it must be like living that close to ponds full of rotten milk?! 
After being thoroughly sickened with the cheese plant we flew to the sewer "spray fields". All of the waste effluent water  is sprayed out and absorbed into the ground for final treatment according to ADEM . The problem with that is that South Perry County lies above the "Selma Chalk". This presents problems for home foundations. Septic tank filter fields may need special attention because formation of the soils percolate water very slowly. However, the soils are very good for small pond This is a semi-hard rock formation that doesn't lend itself to percolation which is what a spray field needs to function adequately. (WIKI) What I saw was a miserable failure at best. ADEM (Peppie Lance R. LeFleur, DIRECTOR) has been aware of the chronic nature of this situation but has neglected to take action for many years. It wasn't until after threats of lawsuits did ADEM take action. Even then it was a joke called enforcement. Here is the "spray field" from a SouthWings plane. 
Spray fields are designed to perk into the soil. No water should ever be seen standing in a treatment area.
The nasty green looking mass in the upper left of the field is standing putrid water. The circles are where the effluent should have been absorbed into the ground. Obviously it didn't work. 
Spray heads are center of the dead zones. (right) The lagoon in the upper left should be dry.
How would you like to live there?! I saw 14 spray heads in service
ADEM did take action. They made Uniontown build a new processing plant AND or repair the existing system. Over 2 Million dollars was given to Uniontown to "fix" the problem. They drew up plans for a new treatment facility using the old method of failure as a remedy. Einstein said the definition of insanity is... "doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result." ADEM is a prime example of that insanity definition. My personnel opinion is this... ADEM should be there to review and decline  permits known to fail. The NEW AND IMPROVED solution was a duplicate  a failure of the past. Here is the "new" spray field. No spray heads have been installed but there is already water standing in the "spray field"(Rhutt Rhow)
 When asked about permitting such a fiasco, Scott Hughes (ADEM) had this to say to Adam Johnstom (ARA) ... We don't review permits for engineering. We issue permits if the local host government approves the design. If a local host approves the design we issue the permit. (paraphrase) What nonsense Scott?! If ADEM isn't supposed to enforce the Clean Water Act, designed to protect downstream citizens from negative impacts of pollution, then stop taking my tax money!

After leaving this last ADEM permit failure we flew over downtown Uniontown. I really think that is when it really sank in just how big a problem environmental injustice had become for this community. I played for Cold Steele, a rock band, in the 90"s I played Uniontown. It wasn't the biggest gig we did but it was at least a thriving town then, back in 1993. "The Club" where we played can be seen in the middle of town with the roof laying on the floor.
What has happened to Uniontown?
Simple... Cumulative impacts of environmental injustice at the hands of greedy corporations who came to Perry County to exploit the lack of state enforcement and the  low income, poverty stricken, people of color which didn't stand a chance against the corporate greed and lack of oversight by ADEM. It was, after all, ADEM who was charged with the so-called protection from such environmental injustice seen here today.

Shame on you ADEM!


Sunday, June 29, 2014


 Residents don’t need more landfill traffic

Tuscaloosa News Editorial 
Published: Saturday, June 28, 2014 at 6:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, June 27, 2014 at 6:50 p.m.
It’s not surprising that the Tuscaloosa County Commission didn’t immediately make a decision with regard to allowing Eagle Bluff Landfill in Holt to triple the amount of debris that it’s taking in. Competing interests make the decision a very difficult one.

The owners say demand for the landfill’s services jumped dramatically with the April 2011 tornadoes. That’s not surprising given the amount of destruction throughout the city. Once all of that debris is scooped up and loaded into the back of a dump truck, it has to go somewhere. But it is surprising that more than three years after the storms, the demand hasn’t subsided.

All construction creates debris, and there is plenty of construction underway in Tuscaloosa County. Much of it is only tangentially related to the storms now, as most of the clearing and replacement are complete. Construction continues in some of the area where the tornado struck, but it’s also going on elsewhere.

The boom in student housing may have more to do with current demand for landfill space than tornado cleanup. How much longer that boom will continue, we can’t say. But we doubt that landfill space will be the determining factor.

Landfills really don’t belong in the middle of residential neighborhoods. If Holt was within an incorporated municipality, Eagle Bluff probably wouldn’t be there. That’s one of the paradoxes of unincorporated urbanized areas.

However, the landfill is located in a residential area and has been for more than two decades. The people living near it aren’t asking the County Commission to close the landfill, just to maintain the current cap of 1,000 cubic yards a day.

Most of the problems arise more from the traffic to the landfill than from the landfill itself. As the owners point out, this is a construction debris landfill, not one for household garbage. For the most part, it isn’t creating foul odors or attracting vermin.

However, the trucks loaded with debris do create problems with mud and dust. It’s difficult to drive on and off construction sites without getting muddy. That’s just the nature of construction.
And some of what the trucks carry creates dust as well. Trucks tracking mud and dirt onto small, residential streets is bound to create dust problems for residents.

Residents would likely look more favorably on the landfill capacity expansion if the trucks loaded with debris weren’t rumbling down their neighborhood streets. We can’t argue with trucks using Crescent Ridge Road, a major thoroughfare. But the neighborhood streets accessing the landfill aren’t really appropriate for truck traffic.

The owners say there isn’t a way to build alternative access to the landfill. Given that, it would seem unwise to increase the amount of debris the landfill can accept daily and thus, the number of trucks carrying it through residential streets.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Advanced Disposal Landfill... Public Nuisance

Public Nuisance 

By John L. Wathen

Advanced Disposal Landfill / public nuisance
A hearing will take place Wed. June 25th in conjunction with the Tuscaloosa County Commission's normally scheduled Commission meeting in the Commission Chambers at the Tuscaloosa County Courthouse.

The hearing is to address the request by Advanced Disposal Landfill in Holt to increase the waste load entering the landfill by 3 times. To-date, they are allowed to accept 1,000 cubic yards per day. They are requesting an increase to 3,000 cubic yards per day.

If this were a remote location with little residential contact I wouldn’t have a problem but this isn’t the case. Crescent Ridge Road in Holt is the direct path for every trash truck entering the landfill. All turn onto 12th street that is barely wide enough for 2 cars, let alone scores of huge trucks. These are not little pickup trucks with a load of leaves. They are large trucks with trash bins carrying many yards of debris from current construction as well as demolition of buildings. Some built long ago when asbestos and lead based paints were used.

If these things were covered properly and not tracked back into the community there would be less reason for concern. That isn’t the case either.
Advanced Disposal "Mt. Trashkaloosa" seen from Holt Peterson Rd. 03/13/14
The landfill has grown tremendously over the years to a mountain of garbage known to us here as Mt. Traskaloosa. Since 2006, I have documented thousands of potential violations of the Clean Water Act, which were reported to the Alabama Dep. of Environmental Management (ADEM) time after time. ADEM, as usual, has chosen to ignore the chronic nature of the violations and taken no action to curb the ongoing problems.
Landfill discharge to Hurricane Creek
The height of Mt. Traskaloosa makes it an eyesore from all over the community. Bright orange dirt piles resembling scars on the earth, uncovered for weeks on end with blowing garbage. Large sheets of plastic sheeting have been video taped leaving the fill and landing over 100 yards on private lands. Neighbors constantly complain of trash blowing in their yards and into Hurricane Creek. Dust laced with fiberglass insulation and many other dangerous particles are seen regularly spreading across the area. Holt Elementary School is a scant 1,500 feet from the landfill.
ADLF aerial view. Flight provided by SouthWings
ADLF dust and wind blown trash
If the dust created by the mountain of trash weren’t bad enough, the huge trucks entering and leaving the landfill track vast amounts of mud onto 12th street which creates environmental issues for Hurricane Creek, Unsafe driving conditions on 12th street, but more importantly, it creates health and safety issues for the community.

When the mud dries, it becomes a dust cloud that is within 20 to 30 feet from residences. In one case, the road is just 15 feet from a person’s living and dining room. The trucks are driving through all sorts of debris containing solvents, adhesives, old carpet, concrete dust and rubble, paint, and sheetrock debris, plus many more things people are not supposed to breathe on a concentrated level.

The residents along 12th street literally have to stand in the street to check the mailbox. When the trucks became a problem due to congestion, the past County Commission made the problem worse by paving the street wider. Now some of the mailboxes are actually hanging over the pavement making for extremely dangerous living conditions.
Trash truck on 12th street
Big trucks, Little cars, Narrow streets = unsafe driving conditions
Hundreds of photo-documented events have been sent to ADEM with no deterrent action taken since as far back as 2006. Many are a matter of record at ADEM and can be accessed online, however their records do not reflect all of the complaints do to changes in owners.

When the landfill was installed many years ago, it was a small hole in the ground and meant to be used for construction and demolition debris (C&D). When locally operated the landfill there was a better sense of community effort on his part to work with the people impacted. If there were issues, I am told they worked them out as a good neighbor would. After they sold the property to an out of state company it changed, much for the worse.

With each change of hands over the years it has grown to be a substantial nuisance to the community. The current owners, Advanced Disposal are my opinion the worst yet.

I met with a representative of the landfill in June of last year by accident and told him of my intentions to file a complaint if conditions didn’t improve. I was met with a friendly invitation from officials in Florida to work with them to address the issues I had. Later, after several friendly email and phone conversations, I met them unexpectedly around the landfill property the local manager of the facility met me with aggression and threats. I was later served with a trespass notice. That’s not how good neighbors work together.

ADEM did step in with a notice of violation in Nov. 2013, which still today hasn’t been enforced. Every complaint sent to ADEM was forwarded to the landfill to evaluate and make excuses for their chronic problems. Some have been addressed but many, such as the offsite tracking are still as bad as ever.

Street sweepers normally used for litter are used to sweep the mud into the ditches and drainage's along 12th street. Since none of the machinery used was designed to pick the mud up, it only spreads much of it into a fine particulate dust that stays in the air long after the huge trucks stir it up. Using a time-lapse camera on Feb 17, 2014, I documented as many as 73 big trucks in a matter of just 2 hrs, 42 minutes. That comes to roughly 1 truck every 2.2 minutes.

According to a recent Tuscaloosa County Engineers traffic count that number was overwhelmingly proven.
In 1 week the actual count was as follows:

The average daily traffic for the week is 240 vehicles per day

A total of 1675 vehicles were counted for the 7 day study

Looking at the hours from 5:00 am to 10:00 pm only,  the average daily for that range is 234 vehicles per day

A total of 1634 vehicles were counted for the week using that range of hours.

Those same trucks track mud and dust onto graves in the Chambers Cemetery. The cemetery long pre-dates the landfill but no one seems to care except the ones who have family there. Funerals have been interrupted, dusted, and literally blocked in by trash trucks. Some drivers even blow the horn when they pass people there with no respect for the living or the dead.
Grave next to 12th street, just outside Advanced Disposal Landfill
June 11, 2014
Now, remember the reason for this letter. They can’t control the problems at 1,000 cubic feet per day. How is it that anyone in authority can think it will get better with an increase of three times the waste on this tiny residential street? Instead of 234 vehicles per day, imagine 700 vehicles per day, or more than 1 per minute rolling right outside your living room window.

Please consider attending the County Commission Meeting on June 25thth at 9 AM in the Commission Chambers at the Tuscaloosa County Courthouse to voice your concerns for this increase that will certainly have a more negative impact than ever.

If we are to ever grow Holt into a thriving community after the Apr. 27th 2011 tornado, it shouldn’t be with Mt. Trashkaloosa as the main attraction.

Mt. Trashkaloosa, Advanced Disposal Landfill. (Flight provided by SouthWings)
Check out the video below to get a feeling of what it's like living next to a public nuisance in many opinions around the Holt Community

Holt landfill operator seeks to triple capacity

Nearby residents oppose request, citing traffic, safety

Landfill (From Tuscaloosa News)
A Rumsey Environmental waste truck makes it's way down 12th Street toward the Eagle Bluff Landfill to dump a load of debris on Wednesday June 18, 2014. Advanced Disposal has proposed a volume increase for the landfill from 1000 yards of construction debris a day up to 3000 yards per day. The Eagle Landing landfill receives debris from the city's of Northport and Tuscaloosa, the Tuscaloosa Department of Transportation, and the Alabama Department of Transportation. The Tuscaloosa News | Erin Nelson
Tuscaloosa News
Published: Saturday, June 21, 2014 at 10:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, June 21, 2014 at 11:04 p.m.
The owners of a construction and demolition landfill in Holt are seeking approval from the Tuscaloosa County Commission to triple the amount of debris that can be brought in each day.
Local residents aren't happy about the request. The only way in and out of the dump is a two-lane residential road — 12th Street Northeast — lined by small homes and trailers.
“It's enough as it is, with trucks coming in and out too fast throughout the day,” said resident Crystal Curry, while her young daughter played on a scooter in the yard.
Advanced Disposal, which owns the Eagle Bluff landfill, has requested a modification of its permit to increase the intake at the landfill from 1,000 yards of construction and demolition debris a day to 3,000 yards per day.
The reason for the request is the huge demand with all the demolition and construction projects going on in Tuscaloosa, said Mary O'Brien, chief marketing officer for Advanced Disposal. There are only two landfills specifically for construction debris in Tuscaloosa County.
“Luckily for Alabama, the economy is coming back, and there is definitely a greater need for the services (we) provide, for the environmentally safe disposal of construction debris.”
The landfill's customers include private companies as well as the city of Northport and the Tuscaloosa Environmental Services Department. The city of Tuscaloosa used to dump debris at the landfill only twice a week, but it now bring loads four times a week, O'Brien said. The dump does not take any kind garbage other than construction or demolition debris.
“The economy is now stronger and the demand for our services has grown,” O'Brien said.
The actual landfill is not increasing its footprint or its size, she said. For every yard that is disposed at the landfill, 25 cents is also paid to the Alabama Department of Environmental Management. If 1,000 yards a day is brought in year round, that totals to about $65,000 back to the state. If the increase is approved, that could mean up to $195,000 a year back to the state.
The landfill is permitted by the state to fill up to 455 meters above sea level, and is currently at 388 meters.
State Rep. Bill Poole, R-
Tuscaloosa, who was present for a hearing on the request Wednesday, said he supports the proposal based on the cost-benefit to the community as a whole, he said.
“I think there is clearly a need for the additional capacity,” Poole said. “I think it's appropriate and a needed request and will serve our community well.”
But residents of 12th Street in Holt don't see it that way. The landfill, which is located a half mile behind Holt Elementary, is surrounded by older homes, with many elderly residents.
“Some of those trucks been going 40 miles per hour through here, blowing up all kinds of dust,” said Theodore Maynor, who is in his 90s.
The speed limit on the road is 25 miles per hour. According to a county traffic study, the average speed of the traffic on the road is 28 miles per hour, with an average traffic count of 240 vehicles a day. The street is one way in and one way out, with the landfill at the end of the street.
“It's too much traffic going down now, we don't want it to be even more,” Maynor said.
Maynor's neighbor, Tareq Lowe, said he's had to replace his mailbox three times and replace his trash can twice because they were hit by the trucks going to the landfill. The traffic has gotten worse, he said, especially since after the April 27, 2011, tornado. His home has been in his family since the 1960s.
“I can't put my trash can out by the mailbox because they'll hit it,” Lowe said.
Lowe said he doesn't trust letting his 3-year-old daughter play outside because of the trucks and the dust caused by the traffic.
“I'll take her to a park instead,” Lowe said.
Commissioner Jerry Tingle, who represents the Holt area, said he hasn't made up his mind yet on the request, but the fact that the landfill is at the end of a residential street concerns him.
I'm considering both sides, but it is a residential street. That's a real concern I have,” Tingle said, pointing to problems with dust, speed and safety. “I have to listen to the people because they are the ones who are having to live with it,” he said.
The request will be discussed by the Tuscaloosa County Commission during its regular meeting Wednesday at 9 a.m. at the Tuscaloosa County Courthouse.
Reach Lydia Seabol Avant at 205-722-0222 or lydia.seabol

Friday, June 20, 2014

Press Release

Friends of Hurricane Creek
Press Release
Notice of Intent to Sue
Who: The Friends of Hurricane Creek and Hurricane Creekkeeper.
Contact: hccreekkeeper@gmail.com

Cell: 205-3103739
What: 60 Day Notice of intent to sue

Why: Repeated, ongoing violations of the Clean Water Act.

Where: Federal Court, Tuscaloosa County

On June 18, 2014, The Friends of Hurricane Creek filed a 60-day
notice of intent to sue the Advanced Disposal Landfill, Eagle Bluff facility for chronic and ongoing violations of the Clean Water Act.
Advanced Disposal off site tracking at Chambers Cemetery
 Hurricane Creekkeeper and Friends of Hurricane Creek have exhausted every possible resource and avenue for settling this matter outside a legal setting. Due to a lack of action and enforcement measures by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management, as well as inaction on the part of the EPA, the Friends of Hurricane Creek has been left with no alternative but to try and enforce the rules by filing the below action in Federal court.

Advanced Disposal has repeatedly demonstrated that they either can not or will not comply with the regulations designed to protect the citizens living close by.

According to a recent Tuscaloosa County Engineer traffic count survey, there are currently over 1,600 vehicles passing within very close proximity to residential dwellings. This comes to one truck every thirty seconds dusting residents and/or covering the roadways with a thick layer of mud, thus creating dangerous and unsafe driving conditions. When the mud dries dries, it becomes airborne dust from a landfill that handles countless tons of demolition and construction debris, including many toxic substances.

The current waste load at the landfill is 1,000 cubic yards per day. They are now asking the County Commission for an increase to 3,000 cubic yards per day. There is a hearing scheduled for Wed. June 25th at the regularly scheduled County Commissioners meeting. We invite all residents who are effected by this expansion to be in the commission chambers at 9:00 A.M on Wed. June 25th to voice their opinions.

We believe this will place an unfair and dangerous burden to the residents of impact, including unsafe driving condition, possible health and safety issues stemming from the dust, and a lowering of the quality of life for all residents within a half mile radius of the facility.

For additional information about the legal matters, please see attached document including the text of Notice of Intent to Sue for Continuing Violations of NPDES Permit No. ALG160090.

The Notice

Re: Notice of Intent to Sue for Continuing Violations of NPDES Permit No. ALG160090
Pursuant to the Clean Water Act § 505, 33 U.S.C. § 1365, and 40 C.F.R. Part 135, Subpart A, you are hereby notified that after the expiration of sixty (60) days following the date of this notice, Friends of Hurricane Creek may file suit against Advanced Disposal Services, Eagle Bluff Landfill, Inc. for the violations of NPDES Permit No. ALG160090 at the Eagle Bluff Landfill located at 4701 12th Street NE, Holt, Alabama alleged herein.

Permit Requirements
NPDES Permit No. ALG160090, Part II, B. 2. c. provides:
The permittee shall prepare and implement a Best Management Practices (BMP) Plan according to Part IV of this permit.

Part IV, B. provides, in part:
1. Plan Content for Landfill Activities: The permittee shall prepare (or as required have a QCP prepare) and implement a best management practices (BMP) plan which shall: (a) Provide control sufficient to prevent or control pollution of storm water by soil particles to the degree required to prevent
violation of the turbidity water quality standard applicable to the waterbody receiving the discharge;
* * *
1. Appropriate measures must be taken to prevent the deposition of airborne pollutants such as spray
paint, herbicides, excessive road dust, etc. from entering any waterbody.
2. Plan Content for Construction Activities (g) Appropriate measures must be taken to prevent the deposition of airborne pollutants such as spray paint, herbicides, excessive road dust, etc. from entering any waterbody.

Best Management Practices Plan Requirements
The Best Management Practices (BMP) & Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) (revised Jan. 2014, submitted Feb. 3, 2014) for the Eagle Bluff Landfill, prepared by Alabama registered professional engineers William W. Stubbs and Nathan Daniel Dunn, provides the following:

4.2 Good Housekeeping
Good housekeeping is an essential nonstructural control measure that reduces the likelihood for storm water discharges to contain various pollutants. Good housekeeping practices will be employed on a daily basis at this facility. In addition, the twice per week inspections will be performed throughout the overall facility for good housekeeping. Good housekeeping at this facility consists of the following measures:
* * *
• Regular cleaning of facility entrance to control offsite
sediment tracking

4.3 Maintenance
Routine site inspections will be completed following the twice per week inspection. These inspections will identify any control measures which require maintenance. All required maintenance will be reported to the team leader and follow up activities will be documented on a follow up inspection report. Routine maintenance at this facility consists of cleaning sediment basins and traps (for both floating and submerged trash and sediment), dust control, maintaining ditches, control offsite tracking, maintaining vegetation across the site ensuring proper operation of skimmer, and all other erosion control (silt fence, check dams, rock filter rings, etc.).

(Emphasis added).

The Permittee has operated the Eagle Bluff Landfill in such a manner that trucks leaving the landfill are tracking sediment onto the surface of 12th Street NE. The Permittee’s efforts to remove the sediment from the surface of 12th Street NE are merely (1) pushing the sediment to the side of the road where it is carried by stormwater into drainage ditches and transported to a tributary of Hurricane Creek or (2) causing the sediments to become airborne and deposited on land surfaces and vegetation where it is carried by
stormwater into drainage ditches and transported to a tributary of Hurricane Creek. Such offsite tracking is a violation of NPDES Permit No. ALG160090, Part II, B. 2. c. and Part IV, B. 1. a., Part IV, B. 1. l., and Part IV, B. 2.g.

The dates when offsite racking has occurred and been documented include the following seventy one days:
August 2, 2013 August 14, 2013 August 18, 2013 August 19, 2013
September 2, 2013 September 20, 2013 September 21, 2013 September 23, 2013
September 25, 2013 October 17, 2013 October 18, 2013 October 20, 2013
October 21, 2013 October 28, 2013 November 14, 2013 November 18, 2013
November 20, 2013 November 25, 2013 November 26, 2013 November 27, 2013
November 28, 2013 November 29, 2013 November 30, 2013 December 2, 2013
December 5, 2013 December 6, 2013 December 7, 2013 December 8, 2013
December 9, 2013 December 11, 2013 December 12, 2013 December 13, 2013
December 14, 2013 December 19, 2013 December 20, 2013 December 21, 2013
December 22, 2013 December 23, 2013 December 28, 2013 January 15, 2014
January 22, 2014 February 3, 2014 February 6, 2014 February 10, 2014
February 11, 2014 February 12, 2014 February 14, 2014 February 17, 2014
February 23, 2014 March 2, 2014 March 3, 2014 March 4, 2014
March 6, 2014 March 12, 2014 March 18, 2014 March 21, 2014
March 23, 2014 March 28, 2014 April 1, 2014 April 4, 2014
April 11, 2014 April 14, 2014 April 15, 2014 April 21, 2014
May 7, 2014 May 10, 2014 May 29, 2014 June 10, 2014
June 11, 2014

Friends of Hurricane Creek filed complaints with the Alabama Department of Environmental Management concerning offsite tracking on 12th Street NE from trucks leaving Eagle Bluff Landfill on the following dates: September 6, 2013 September 23, 2013 September 25, 2013 October 21, 2013
October 25, 2013 November 25, 2013 December 12, 2013 December 20, 2013
February 2, 2014 February 13, 2014 March 24, 2014 May 19, 2014
June 11, 2014
Most complaints can be obtained at http://edocs.adem.alabama.gov/eFile/.

ADEM Inaction
The Alabama Department of Environmental Management conducted an inspection of the Eagle Bluff Landfill on September 16, 2013. The inspector made the following observation: “Sediment was present outside of the facility’s gate from apparent offsite tracking.” The inspection report includes photographs of “offsite tracking outside of the facility’s gate.”

On October 25, 2013, the Alabama Department of Environmental Management issued a Notice of Violation to Advanced Disposal Services Eagle Bluff Landfill, Inc. The Notice states “At the time of the July and
September 2013 inspections, sediment was present outside of the facility’s gate from apparent offsite
Offsite tracking and the accumulation of sediment at the facility’s discharge points which are conveyances to waters of the state are indicators of solids being discharged in more than trace amounts.”

The Alabama Department of Environmental Management conducted an inspection of the Eagle Bluff Landfill on March 27, 2014. The inspector made the following observation: “ Also, observed during the inspection, was offsite tracking of gravel and gravel dust. A build up of sediment was noted in several areas along the shoulder of the road just below the landfill entrance.” The inspection report includes photographs of “offsite gravel” and “gravel dust.”

Apparently, no further actions have been taken by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management and offsite tracking continues.

The Court may assess civil penalties of up to $37,500 per violation per day and litigation costs (including attorney and expert witness fees). Suit may be avoided if these violations have been permanently abated before the expiration of sixty (60) days following the date of this notice.
Please advise the undersigned of any measures that you may undertake which you contend have permanently abated these violations before suit is filed. Friends of Hurricane Creek may be contacted through the undersigned.
David A. Ludder
Attorney for Friends of Hurricane Creek

cc: Hon. Gina McCarthy, Administrator
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Ariel Rios Building (AR)
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20004

Hon. Heather McTeer Toney, Regional Administrator
Environmental Protection AgencyRegion 4
Atlanta Federal Center
61 Forsyth Street, SW
Atlanta, GA 303033104

Hon. Lance LeFleur, Director
Alabama Department of Environmental Management
P.O. Box 301463
Montgomery, AL 361301463

The Corporation Company
Registered Agent for Advanced Disposal Services Eagle Bluff Landfill, Inc.
2000 Interstate Park Drive, Suite 204
Montgomery, Alabama 36109

Friends of Hurricane Creek
5600 Holt Peterson Road
Tuscaloosa, Alabama 35404
(205) 5070867

Friday, April 18, 2014

City looks to help expand sewer service in Holt; improve Hurricane Creek Park

City looks to help expand sewer service in Holt; improve Hurricane Creek Park

From Tuscaloosa News

Trees change color along Hurricane Creek at Hurricane Creek Park in Cottondale, Ala. Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013.
Staff file | Tuscaloosa News
Published: Wednesday, April 16, 2014 at 11:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, April 17, 2014 at 1:00 a.m.
Calling it a “spirit of cooperation,” the Tuscaloosa City Council is looking to approve two requests from the Tuscaloosa County Commission that will bring sewer services to Holt residents and improve the park at Hurricane Creek.
At the request of County Commissioner Jerry Tingle and Farrington Snipes, Tuscaloosa County's director of planning and community development, the council's Public Projects Committee agreed Tuesday to let Holt residents tie on to the city's sewer system without being annexed.
City policy mandates that those outside the city limits who want access to the city's sanitary sewer network must first become city residents and taxpayers, but the City Council can waive the requirement under certain circumstances.
Among these circumstances are requests from other governmental agencies. The City Council previously has granted permission for a smaller group of Holt residents to tie in to the city's sewer network.
The work is being funded by $9.023 million in federal disaster relief grants that the Tuscaloosa County government sought from the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs as a means to spur storm recovery efforts in this area.
County taxpayers are making up the remaining $2.644 million that will deliver sewer services to 295 existing homes and could serve an additional 487 houses, should they be built.
Bids on the estimated $2.9 million Phase I are expected to be opened next month, while the $8.768 million Phase II remains in the planning stages.
No city funds were requested on Tuesday. The only permission the county asked of City Hall was the ability to tie in to the existing system once Phase II is completed.
The full City Council is expected to vote on approving the county's request next week.
“I think it went well,” Tingle said of Tuesday's request. “We'll just have to see how it goes as we move along. It's a very expensive project.”
Councilman Kip Tyner, chairman of the council's Public Projects Committee, agreed, especially since the sewer line extensions will bring sewer services to a pocket of city residents in the East Park neighborhood, which is otherwise surrounded by county jurisdiction.
These residents have made repeated requests for sewer services, Tyner said, but until now have been denied.
“They've been a long-suffering neighborhood, but they've always been respectful,” Tyner said. “I'm really happy about this today.”
Park project
Tyner and the rest of the committee were also receptive to a request to help Tingle and county officials improve Hurricane Creek Park. However, the committee decided to wait until next month to approve a request for $200,000.
Tingle said he already had obtained permission from his fellow county commissioners to use $200,000 of his discretionary funds to improve access to the park off Alabama Highway 216 by paving a lengthy entryway, while adding a self-composting restroom on-site.
“It's a worthwhile project,” Tingle said. “It's used by a lot of folks.”
The park is managed by the Tuscaloosa County Park and Recreation Authority, but because its 249 acres lie in both city and county jurisdiction, its upkeep is the responsibility of both.
Gary Minor, PARA executive director, said PARA work crews have difficulty accessing garbage cans and other areas of the park, while parkgoers have been known to use wooded areas of the park because there are no restrooms.
The council committee was supportive of the request but wants additional time to find where the $200,000 could come from.
“This is a real opportunity for another great partnership with the county,” Tyner said.
Reach Jason Morton at jason.morton@tuscaloosanews.com or 205-722-0200.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Friends of Hurricane Creek, PARA team up to clean up with volunteers

Friends of Hurricane Creek, PARA team up to clean up with volunteers

HONORS COLLEGE CLEANUP 06-15-13 -- Peterson, Ala. -- Savannah Chandler, 18, from Ft. Myers, Fl., carries debris to be discarded during a cleanup along Hurricane Creek in Peterson, Ala. Thursday, Aug. 15, 2013. More than 100 Honors College students at the University of Alabama worked on a community service project cleaning up tornado debris around the creek through the Outdoor Action service learning projects.(Dusty Compton / Tuscaloosa News) Tuscaloosa News

Published: Wednesday, April 9, 2014 at 4:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, April 9, 2014 at 4:27 p.m.
For the first time, the Friends of Hurricane Creek and the Tuscaloosa County Park and Recreation Authority are partnering to clean up Hurricane Creek. But they're going to need some help.
Volunteers are requested to assist in removing trash and debris from Hurricane Creek, Watson's Bend and Hurricane Creek Park on Alabama Highway 216 starting at 9 a.m. Saturday.

"This will be the first joint effort by the groups to clean up, preserve and protect Hurricane Creek," said Hurricane Creekkeeper John L. Wathen, who heads the Friends of Hurricane Creek organization. "We hope it leads to many years of such cooperation."

Wathen said the clean-up that began with 16 volunteers now has an average attendance of more than 60.

This year, Friends of Hurricane Creek will have 12 canoes (enough room for 24 people) to assist with navigating the creek during the clean-up, but Wathen asked that any volunteer who has a canoe to bring it along.
Shuttles also will be available to drive volunteers between the clean-up locations and the parking area on Highway 216.

Drinks, water, and snacks will be available to all volunteers during the cleanup and a pot-luck lunch will follow at the Holt Peterson Road crossing, where organizers are asking for dishes to serve the volunteers
The pot-luck will coincide with the 1:30 p.m. dedication of the bridge over Hurricane Creek on Holt Peterson Road to honor Jimmy and Addalyne Watson.

Wathen said the Watsons were the first donors to the Friends of Hurricane Creek when they contributed $20 toward feeding the volunteers during the first clean-up 21 years ago.

Those wishing to attend only the lunch and the bridge dedication are asked to be at the Watson's Bend site by 1 p.m., Wathen said.

With sunset, a bonfire will be lit for those who wish to hang out on the creek. Also, Friends of Hurricane Creek chip mulch made from trees toppled during the April 27, 2011 tornado at $5 per bag at the Watson's Bend site.

For more information about Friends of Hurricane Creek or details on the clean-up, contact Wathen at 205-507-0867.

For those wanting additional information on how to help preserve Hurricane Creek and the PARA-operated park connected to it, contact Becky Booker, PARA's public relations and marketing manager, at 205-562-3220.
Reach Jason Morton at jason.morton@tuscaloosanews.com or 205-722-0200.