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ADEM cites ALDOT for environmental violations on U.S. 98

MOBILE (AP) — The state environmental agency has cited the Alabama Department of Transportation for multiple violations at its construction project on U.S. 98 near Mobile.

The Alabama Department of Environmental Management found that transportation officials failed to use and maintain required environmental protections at the project.

ADEM found multiple violations of state and federal law and damage to wetlands, creeks and rivers, according to a report Saturday.

In a formal “Notice of Violation” letter mailed last week, ADEM wrote that the department was “considering a formal enforcement action, including the imposition of monetary penalties” based on the “significance of the noted violations.”

ALDOT officials said they would work with ADEM “to resolve these issues.”

ADEM had inspected the site numerous times over the last six months but did not note any serious problems prior to a Mobile Press-Register investigation in September that detailed the issues cited in the violation notice.

Numerous wetland areas examined by the newspaper were found to be choked with heavy deposits of silt and sediment from the construction project, including many of the wetlands that filter water flowing into Big Creek Lake, Mobile’s drinking water source.

ALDOT and W.S. Newell — the Montgomery-based company hired to build the new U.S. 98 — recently have added 26 million pounds of rock rip-rap along the construction site to protect wetlands, as well as more than a mile of new silt fencing and 6,000 square yards of filter blankets used to prevent dirt from eroding off hillsides, according to ALDOT officials.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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