According to documents that were obtained by The News Journal, contractors performing construction on Delaware’s primary north-south artery of the highway were issued a violation by state environmental regulators. The Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) received the violation surrounding erosion and sediment control laws. The notice states that Del. 1 highway projects in South Frederica, Milford, and Little Heaven broke multiple erosion regulations.
These violations included crews allowing dirt to flow into nearby wetlands, failing to maintain a sump pump, failing to follow stormwater and sediment management plans, and failing to stabilize soil at construction site entrances. As per an inspection report, the swale along Del. 1 was being utilized as a sediment trap and was left unstabilized. The notification also included pictures, which showed muddy streams passing through nearby fences and wooded areas. According to federal researchers, fine sediment in waterways is often responsible for decreasing fish populations, which is a main concern.
In response to the notice of violations, DelDOT does not contest them, according to its chief engineer. He believes that one of the contributing factors for the violations has to do with the recent wet weather that the state has been experiencing. Though he does not blame everything on the weather, he explained that maintaining environmental controls on large sites that also have tight construction deadlines can often prove extremely challenging during periods of rain.
He explained that even though DelDOT provides its contractors with everything that they need to comply with all regulations, all contractors were instructed to cease construction and work that could cause more erosion until all issues were resolved. This work includes any activities that are responsible for disturbing the ground.
These are not inexpensive projects. The Little Heaven, South Frederica, and Milford projects cost millions of dollars. The only sanction for the violation is for all construction to cease until erosion issues are remedied. Though uncommon, violation notices do occasionally occur. Such notices have previously been issued on DelDOT sites. The agency was provided inspection reports, noting all the non-compliance and corrective actions. The agency is to comply with these corrective action requirements and must then submit documentation showing that it has done so within 30 days of the violations.
If you or your company has experienced any issues with environmental regulations, it is extremely important that you seek an attorney with experience in this complicated regulatory space. At Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A., our Wilmington environmental lawyers have extensive knowledge of environmental law and the issues often associated with it. For more information or to schedule a consultation, call us at 302-656-5445 or contact us online today. With office locations in Wilmington, Dover, and Georgetown, Delaware, we proudly serve clients throughout the state.