Alabama’s environmental agency has cited the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) for multiple violations at its construction project on U.S. 98 near Mobile.
The Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) found that transportation officials failed to use and maintain required environmental protections at the project.
ADEM found multiple violations of state and federal law and damage to wetlands, creeks and rivers, the Press-Register reported in a story Oct. 13.
In a formal "Notice of Violation" letter mailed the week of Oct. 7, ADEM wrote that the department was "considering a formal enforcement action, including the imposition of monetary penalties" based on the "significance of the noted violations."
ADEM had inspected the site several times over the last six months; however, no substantial problems were noted prior to a Press-Register investigation in September that detailed the issues cited in the violation notice.
Numerous wetland areas examined by the newspaper were found to contain heavy deposits of silt and sediment from the U.S. 98 construction project. The wetlands included many that filter water flowing into Big Creek Lake, Mobile's drinking water source.
ALDOT and W.S. Newell, the Montgomery-based company hired to build the new U.S. 98, recently have added 26 million lb of rock rip-rap along the construction site to protect wetlands, as well as over a mile of new silt fencing and 6,000 sq yd of filter blankets used to prevent dirt from eroding off hillsides, according to ALDOT officials.
ALDOT officials said they would work with ADEM "to resolve these issues."