Construction can have a significant environmental impact on residents living near project sites. An ongoing Georgia Department of Transportation project on Old Evans and Petersburg roads from Augusta to Columbia County is a good example of this. The aim of the project is to build a four-lane highway that will include bike lanes, sidewalks and a bridge to help make traffic flow more efficient.
The problem, say residents, is that the project is resulting in sediment pollution due to stormwater flooding that isn't properly draining away. As a result, some local residents are dealing with sediment pollution and raising concerns about potential stream and soil contamination, as well as pest infestation. Residents have also filed complaints regarding large stormwater drain holes which have not been filled as well as problems with clay clogging up plumbing lines and fixtures.
Georgia's Environmental Protection Division has ordered the Department of Transportation and its contractor to reduce and divert stormwater runoff, though the Department of Transportation has previously declined to implement remedial measures recommended after a 2007 engineering study.
The project is expected to be completed in 2017, so the damage could continue to occur over the next couple years. Meanwhile, some residents are filing lawsuits under the Clean Water Act on the grounds that the construction project is causing red clay exposure for over 14 days, as well as water trespassing and sediment erosion. Some have said the project may also violate the Georgia Erosion and Sedimentation Act
In our next post, we'll take a look a closer look at the Georgia Erosion and Sedimentation Act.