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NC Report Card - 12/27/11 - ID#532

Site Information
Date of Site Visit: 
Tue, 12/27/2011
Flag this report card as critical?: 
Critical
Enforcement Office: 
Site Name: 
Gaston Mall Development
Site Location: 
Cox Rd and I-85
County/Municipality: 
Gaston / Gastonia
Project Owner: 
Gaston Mall
Type of Project: 
Commercial
Weather During Visit: 
Line squalls, wind gusts westerly, mid 50's temp
Rain in prior 24 hours: 
YES
Waterbodies Onsite: 
DuHarts Creek
Drains Into: 
South Fork of the Catawba River
Location: 
NC35° 15' 49.0752" N, 81° 8' 6.5364" W
1. Registration/Information Posting | 2. Stormwater Appearance
1a. Is the registration/permit/ID number clearly visible at site entrance?: 
NO
1b. Is contact information posted with the registration information?: 
NO
1c. Is the site plan posted at the entrance or available at the project trailer?: 
NO
1d. Comments: 
Gaston Mall Development – Report for Dec 27, 2011 -- TO: Joseph Alm, Gaston County; Steven Kichefski, Corps of Engineers; Burkhard, NC DENR;..... CC: James Cook, Gaston County; Alan Johnson, NC DENR; Rob Krebs, Reg Super-DENR; James Simmons, NC DENR; Diedrienne Fauser, Corps of Engineers; David Merryman, Rick Gaskins, Catawba River Keeper; Johnny Denton, contract engineer for Gaston County;... Messrs, Alm, Kichefski & Burkhard, Please find attached 32 photos covering the rain event for Dec 27, 2011. This report and the attached photos have been added to Report ID # 532 on the Muddy Water Watch (MWW) web site. Section 1d, Comments, contains this text. This is a new MWW report number. Report ID #532 continues the "Critical" rating for this site due to concerns about the nascent wetlands in the 'Amphitheater' area in particular (see below). The previous three MWW reports have been filled to capacity with compilations of individual reports on rain events over the previous year. The first is MWW report 482 and covers January into May, 2011. The second is MWW report 506 which covers May into August, 2011. The third is MWW report 521 , covers August into September, 2011.... There had been less than one and a half inches of rain the previous 24 hours for the subject storm event. Certainly not 'challenging conditions' for the design parameters of this site. Some more sediment is being washed into DuHarts Creek due to the activities of the contractor(s) and lack of proper maintenance on the existing safeguards for sediment control. It appears that some required safeguards were not installed at all. One indicator for lack of maintenance is the trash laying around in the active site work areas that the casual passer-by may not notice. Supplementary photos taken subsequent to Dec 27 are provided that show the site after the water subsided.... We begin with the sediment down the sidewalk along the west side of Gaston Mall Dr. This is the series of seven photos labeled "Sediment Sidewalk". The source of the sediment was across from the side road (no street sign) and new entrance to rear of the Steak House off Gaston Mall Dr. The first photo shows the high bank from the site work above the Gaston Mall Dr. sidewalk. It should be noted that the top of the hill is one of the newer construction areas where grading continues (see photo: construction entrance…) Only part of the sediment laden stormwater from the area above the slope went down the sidewalk. The majority went over the retaining walls across the creek from the Target store (more on this, below). ... Please note the Hill with multiple rills below matting. photo 1 The silt fences were overwhelmed. photo 2 The sidewalk installed earlier received and directed the flow as if it were a new creek bed. photo 3 The sediment laden stormwater flowed to the bottom of the hill – end of the sidewalk. By the hand of intelligent design, the waters did part for a second time. photo 6. Half of the flowing sediment laden storm water made a U-turn into the entrance of the Target store parking lot where it pooled in good fashion. The overflow from this pool then made a left turn into a parking space. At one foot from the curb, the water did part for a third time. Some went down the curb inlet while the rest meandered further into the parking lot taking up parking spaces as it went. photo 4. (The gyrations of this sediment laden stream down and around slope is likely a record for the MWW organization.) .... The other half of the sediment laden water coming down the sidewalk did a 'hook shot' across Gaston Mall Dr. and drained down the curb inlet that funnels the water directly into DuHarts Creek. The brown stain on the creek bank is visible from 200 meters, please look at the photos from the steak house parking lot. photo 6 and 7. Three days later, the sediment remained on the sidewalk thus rendering the sidewalk inaccessible to a wheel chair. .... In July of 2011, Mr. Burkhard at NC DENR was quoted in the Gaston Gazette as saying that "some sediment runoff from the site" was occurring during the construction phases. ? … . In an effort to quantify "some", we can look to the above mentioned sidewalk. The sediment that remains on the sidewalk is but a tiny fraction of the total sediment that ended up in the creek for this particular one inch rain event. We can safely estimate that just the sediment left on the 100 meter length of the sidewalk would easily have filled half a dozen 5 gallon buckets. (photos of entire sidewalk not attached here) Do you consider the sidewalk an "active" part of the site at this point? If someone took a bucket of sediment over to the creek and dumped it in would they be in violation of the Clean Water Act? Mr. Alm, If you saw someone dumping buckets of sediment into a Gaston County stream, you would be obliged to write them a ticket would you not? At least a warning? Have you issued either one in the course of the Gaston Mall development? And you at NC DENR. No problem here? Was the legal limit of 50 NTU exceeded at any time? Who would have this data? What is the NTU reading for the pool in the Target parking lot? Mr. Kichefski, of the United States Army Corps of Engineers, where do you come into the picture?.... For an idea of the amount of sediment run-off during construction please see attached 2 photos from April 2011 of just one rain event of many during the last year. What you see went directly into DuHarts Creek and off the site: (photos a bit fuzzy due to low light) -- "Water falls at pump around pond where creek ends..9april2011". In this photo we see a somewhat normal grayish colored creek flowing into the site. This is soon changed into chocolate water. -- "Fiord land.. 3 of 3. Waterfall from overwhelmed (steak house) west parking lot drain, left. Flow from upper areas, right..9april2011". The sediment laden storm water coming off the steak house parking lot had originated on the Mall development property, flowed across the property of the steakhouse and then back onto the Mall property. Now, in January of 2012, it appears the sediment from the upper area still active is almost as bad as the Fjord land photo taken back in April. The level of care in construction to prevent sediment run-off has not improved..... In reference to the hill that is the source of sediment for the above mentioned sidewalk, the majority of the tons of sediment went over the top of the gabion wall and soil nail walls junction. This would be upstream – west – of the double bridge culverts and this is another big problem area. Could we say Best Management Practices (BMPs) were not followed and sediment control was lacking for this area that is still active? It is simple to calculate that tons of sediment went over the walls if we look at the silt fences that were overwhelmed in photo 2 of the 'sediment sidewalk' series. Anyone ever had a ton of sand delivered? It does not look like much when on the truck or dumped on the ground. Safe to say that there is a ton or so behind each of the silt fences. And this is just what was left behind and is but a tiny fraction of what went into the creek..... Five photos labeled "Ersatz Basin". An ersatz sediment basin has formed under the retaining wall across the creek from Target. photo 1. Please note the evidence of Sediment flowing over the top of wall. photos 2 and 4. Sediment under wall. photo 3. Lack of maintenance on silt fence / other. photo 5. .... Further upstream is the 'amphitheater' area. There are 2 photos labeled as such. Should we be concerned that the impacts of sediment flowing into this area at higher that expected rates will ultimately cause failure? The area beneath the retaining wall and high slope on the west end of the amphitheater was intended to form a new wetland. The excessive sediment from above seems to be filling in and displacing this effort to a degree not foreseen by the designer. Two major sources are the high bank itself and the black drain pipe (slope drain) that comes down the slope and dumps into the new wetland. There are photos (not attached here) from late August 2011 during a dry spell showing workers installing plants in these areas. The workers were up to their knees in water. Will the plants remain viable?.... "Area 51" This is the section where DuHarts Creek enters the new wetlands and new meanders at the west end of the site. Four photos for comparison. 1 – August 14, 2011. A few days after DuHarts was turned into the new meanders. 2 - Dec 27, 2011. After one inch rain. 3 – Dec 27, 2011. Close in. Less than six months later; crumbling infrastructure. 4 – Dec 30, 2011. Aftermath. It seems the blocks have sunk into the creek; retaining infrastructure has been displaced. New sand bar below blocks. If we are not mistaken, these are granite blocks. This is definitely a failure of an installed feature for the new wetlands. The bank they were to protect has been washed out from behind. The new creek bed designed to carry DuHarts seems to be filling with sediment. Where is DuHarts headed? What is the true impact on the nascent wetlands?..... The next stop is the intersection of Jett Lanier Dr. and Gaston Mall Dr. Both corners of this intersection have issues. Three photos labeled "Jett and Gaston". The SW corner has overflowing and stressed silt fences. photos 1 and 2. The NW corner appears to have been abandoned as far as erosion control. Photo 3. Whose jurisdiction is this intersection?.... Construction entrance to Jett Lanier Dr. is not adequate to prevent sediment from being carried from the site onto the paved roadway. One photo..... The retaining walls to the east – downstream – of the double culvert bridge for Gaston Mall Dr. have sediment coming over and under also. At the bottom of the narrow 'V' intersection of the retaining walls at the aforementioned double bridge culvert is an outflow from higher elevations on the site. Sediment is accumulating here. See photo: "V of Retaining Wall". Photo shows what appears to be erosion from under the wall – coming up from bottom of photo – that goes around the ring of rocks. Not to be confused with the pipe that is right, center of photo..... Further to the east – downstream - along this retaining wall and a little beyond the steakhouse parking lot, sediment is going over the wall. It is easy to see why if one looks at the area adjacent to the steakhouse. A lot of bare ground and all of it washing down slope to the low point. See 3 photos labeled "East Wall"..... The triple culverts feeding into DuHarts Creek were spewing sediment. These culverts carry the little tributary from I-85 under the Target parking lot and empty into DuHarts just downstream from the two arches supporting Gaston Mall Dr. A photo taken two days later shows the accumulated sediment in the left two of the three culverts. Also shows the sandbar that is developing in DuHarts creekbed in front of the culverts. two photos..... The slope around the big single culvert that goes under the Mall parking lot is eroding and appears to be dumping more sediment in the creek. one photo..... DuHarts exits site under Cox Rd. one photo showing sediment leaving site..... Messrs, Alm, Kichefski & Burkhard, This report is the first anniversary edition of Muddy Water Watch documenting still ongoing violations of the Clean Water Act at the Gaston Mall Development. There have been many reports and photos during the preceding twelve months that document problems we observed at this site..... We are not satisfied that enforcement activity and the contractors' independent response is sufficient to atttain compliance and we are particularly concerned that some of the same deficiencies that were observed in the past continue to jeopardize the downstream reaches of Duhart as well as the new wetlands and stream bed on the Target site. .... There is insufficient attention to Best Management Practices and sediment and erosion control at this site. Compliance with the regulations has been relegated to second place versus following the construction plans to create new commercial buildings and sites..... During earlier stages of the implementation of the sediment and erosion control regulations, the MWW was created with the thought sites might be found without permits and work would be discovered without sediment control measures. Now most sites have plans and basic erosion control measures. Based on our experience, It is clear that many large complicated sites with permits and inspection by county and state regulators continue to have problems because the original plans are deficient in some way or that the sequence of work and installation do not follow the original. We all have the opportunity to continue learning how to build without releasing excessive sediment to the receiving waters. Please do not rely on the plans as originally approved thinking that they will be appropriate without modification. .... It appears that the eight entities involved with the construction are concentrating on getting the work done to complete construction on the buildings and sites. To wit: Landowner, Woolpert Engineering, Target, general contractor plus four levels of government agencies: City, County, State and Federal. It is evident that through organization and inherent interest, MWW places more emphasis on the environmental aspects of the project - we hope that the agencies can adjust and give a higher priority to sediment and erosion control. The individuals in MWW are not universally opposed to development of sites and we would like to see the installation of the wetlands and relocated stream bed succeed. .... MWW plans to continue to observe the Gaston Mall site because it is not clear that the altered wetlands with adjacent steep slopes are viable and/or stabilized. The site is convenient to the region and well documented. It will be used for training purposes..... End this report....
2a. Is sediment-laden stormwater retained on the site?: 
NO
2b. Is sediment-laden stormwater prevented from entering a storm drain or waterbody?: 
NO
2c. Comments: 
See section 1d. for entire report. Tons of sediment leaving site with every one inch or more rain event
3. Construction Entrance/Exits | 4. Perimeter Controls
3a. Is there enough stone, gravel, or stabilizing material to cover the entrance/exit?: 
YES
3b. Are construction materials and equipment being stored away from the entrance/exit?: 
YES
3c. Is the road free from dirt tracked from the site?: 
NO
3d. Is the construction entrance/exit free from flowing dirty water?: 
NO
3d. Comments: 
See section 1d. for entire report.
4a. Are perimeter controls present?: 
NO
4b. Are the controls properly placed?: 
NO
4d. Is water prevented from flowing over, under, or around controls?: 
NO
4c. Are the controls properly trenched?: 
NO
4e. Are the controls in good repair?: 
NO
4f. Comments: 
See section 1d. for entire report.
5. Storm Drain and Inlet Protection | 6. Soil Stabilzation and Cover
5a. Are storm drains and inlets protected and in good repair?: 
YES
5b. Are storm drains and inlets free from sediment?: 
NO
5c. Comments: 
See section 1d. for entire report.
6a. If areas have been inactive for more than 14 days are they stabilized and in good repair?: 
NO
6b. Are completed phases of the site seeded for permanent vegetation?: 
YES
6c. Are soil stockpiles properly seeded, covered with tarps, or surrounded by silt fence?: 
NO
6d. Is the site free of rills or other major erosion on slopes or soil stockpiles?: 
NO
6f. Comments: 
See section 1d. for entire report. Many rills developing all around the site that are washing away new vegetation.
7. Sediment Traps, Check Dams and Basins
7a. Are sediment traps, check dams, or basins installed?: 
YES
7b. Do they have properly installed and operating components?: 
NO
7c. Are the trap and basin slopes stabilized?: 
NO
7d. Is the trap or basin retaining sediment?: 
NO
7e. Comments: 
See section 1d. for entire report. Best Management Practices continue to be shoddy or ineffective as they have for the last year.
8. Outlet Protection | 9. Encroachment on Waterbodies
8a. Are outlets armored with stone or otherwise protected and in good repair?: 
NO
8b. Is the outlet structured as to prevent scouring and erosion?: 
NO
8c. Comments: 
See section 1d. for entire report.
9a. Is vegetation adjacent to waterbodies intact?: 
NO
9b. Are waterbodies and adjacent buffers free of built structures, including basins and traps?: 
YES
9c. Comments: 
See section 1d. for entire report.
General Comments | Photos
10. General Comments: 
See section 1d. for entire report.
NC Report Card - 12/27/11 - ID#532
NC Report Card - 12/27/11 - ID#532
NC Report Card - 12/27/11 - ID#532
NC Report Card - 12/27/11 - ID#532
NC Report Card - 12/27/11 - ID#532
NC Report Card - 12/27/11 - ID#532
NC Report Card - 12/27/11 - ID#532
NC Report Card - 12/27/11 - ID#532
NC Report Card - 12/27/11 - ID#532
NC Report Card - 12/27/11 - ID#532
NC Report Card - 12/27/11 - ID#532
NC Report Card - 12/27/11 - ID#532
NC Report Card - 12/27/11 - ID#532
NC Report Card - 12/27/11 - ID#532
NC Report Card - 12/27/11 - ID#532
NC Report Card - 12/27/11 - ID#532
NC Report Card - 12/27/11 - ID#532
NC Report Card - 12/27/11 - ID#532
NC Report Card - 12/27/11 - ID#532
NC Report Card - 12/27/11 - ID#532
NC Report Card - 12/27/11 - ID#532
NC Report Card - 12/27/11 - ID#532
NC Report Card - 12/27/11 - ID#532
NC Report Card - 12/27/11 - ID#532
NC Report Card - 12/27/11 - ID#532
NC Report Card - 12/27/11 - ID#532
NC Report Card - 12/27/11 - ID#532
NC Report Card - 12/27/11 - ID#532
NC Report Card - 12/27/11 - ID#532
NC Report Card - 12/27/11 - ID#532
NC Report Card - 12/27/11 - ID#532
NC Report Card - 12/27/11 - ID#532
Enforcement Log
With whom have you followed up on this report card?: 
Enforcement Agency
If you contacted an enforcement agency, with whom did you communicate?: 
Mr. Joseph Alm, Gaston County
How did you follow up?: 
email
Was the enforcement agent familiar with the site?: 
yes
Did the agency respond within 5 days?: 
no
Enforcement Log Notes: 
A singular lack of response from both Gaston County and NC DENR. No enforcement action in preceding year.

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