Large Construction Sites Pose Threat to Dog River

As major construction projects take shape around Mobile, it’s in the calm waters of Dog River where you can see the darker side to new business.construction

If contractors fail to follow regulations instated by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management and the city of Mobile, red clay and other sediments can wash out of the site and into area waterways, hurting the fish and eventually people.

“Certainly the city’s efforts with regards to storm water management are ramped up more than they’ve been in the past. Our inspectors are out there driving the jobs everyday and looking at the issues. When rain events happen, which in

Mobile City Engineer Nick Amberger explains their inspection tactics.
Mobile City Engineer Nick Amberger explains their inspection tactics.

Mobile is very common occurrence, they’re out there immediately to address any issues that might arise,” City Engineer Nick Amberger said. “Typically, if there’s going to be a problem, it can happen at the beginning of a job when you start the initial ground clearance because sometimes they have to clear the ground or clear some section of it in order to put up the BMP’s (Best Management Practices).”

Casi Callaway, Executive Director of the Mobile Baykeeper non-profit environmental organization, said they saw a three to five-year lull in city construction, but things are picking up and they’re keeping a closer eye on sediment run-off. “Now, as we start to ramp up, we as a community need to make sure contractors and construction workers know they can’t break the rules.”

Mobile Baykeepers and Dog River Clearwater Revival hosted a workshop at the West Mobile Public Library Tuesday evening to help the public spot potential violations on construction sites so they can report them or bring the issues to the contractors directly.

“Our goal is not to get every culprit attacked by a state agency or a federal agency. The goal is to get the problem solved,” Callaway said about the workshop. “Often times the contractor is not trying to break the rule or make short cuts. They just missed a step or didn’t go back and double-check after a heavy rain storm, and those are the kind of things we have to make sure continue to happen.”

WKRG reached out to the Alabama Department of Environmental Management but did not hear back before our newscast.

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