Company in violation of environmental laws fixes erosion problem

Sunday, April 16, 2006 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 1:34 a.m. CST, Tuesday, February 24, 2009


The company behind a major commercial development at the junction of Stadium Boulevard and U.S. 63 that was in violation of state environmental laws has fixed problems related to erosion and storm water runoff, according to state officials.


Stadium 63 Properties was notified in late March that it was in violation of the Missouri Clean Water Act for failing to prevent sediment runoff into Grindstone Creek during preliminary work on its Park View Center Phase 1 project. The department did not levy a fine against the company, opting instead to work with the developer to fix the problems.


“We’ve been back a couple of times since and felt that there were still some issues that needed to be addressed,” said Irene Crawford, an engineer with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. “But since the most recent rainfall another visit was conducted and it found the problem had been corrected.”


The department visited the site in mid-March after Ken Midkiff, the conservation chairman for the Ozark Chapter of the Sierra Club, complained about land disturbance work on the site. During the visit, officials found the silt fences and measures meant to slow storm water runoff already in place were inadequate.


Midkiff said he filed the report with the department specifically because it granted the land disturbance permit and was in charge of making sure it was being followed.


Although the problems with the site have been corrected, the situation demonstrates the difficulty that can come with enforcing land-disturbance statutes when different agencies play a role in oversight.


David Nichols, chief engineer for the Public Works Department, said the city has found the site to be in compliance with city ordinances. The time the inspection takes place can play a role in whether or not inspectors find a violation, he said.


Nichols said it’s an ongoing process when dealing with land disturbance, and as you move more dirt, you have to constantly adapt the type of management plan in use.


Before any dirt is moved on a property larger than an acre, city ordinances require developers to submit a site development plan for city approval that explains what erosion-control measures will be used to mitigate off-site damage. This plan includes a map detailing the type of grading and draining measures employed and gives the city an idea what devel­opers plan to do.


But those plans can change over time, making them difficult to follow.


“If (the site is) muddy and it’s tough to get into the site to move dirt, it can be difficult sometimes to make sure run-off is under control,” Nichols said.


He said even if erosion problems are found, it is unlikely that work at a site will be immediately shut down.


“If the city or the state tells them there are some issues they should look at and they just ignore those suggestions, then there is a problem,” Nichols said. “But if we find something and (the developer) works with us to correct them, then there really isn’t an issue most of the time.”

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