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E-M:/ Clean Water Act/Network's report



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Enviro-Mich message from tobler <wtobler@tdi.net>
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In response to Cyndi Roper’s invitation to contribute to the report
being developed by the Clean Water Network in re the Clean Water Act’s
25th anniversary, I would like to relate the continuing violations of
the London Sand & Aggregate quarry in Monroe County.  This is an ongoing
saga of violation of the Clean Water Act "almost since the day the
permit was issued", in the MDEQ’s own words.

Since 1992, this quarry’s effluent into community waterways, including
Stoney Creek, has been in excess of allowable total dissolved solids by
as much as 400%, of allowable hydrogen sulfides by as much as 500,000%,
below required oxygen content by as much as 97%, and is four times
greater in volume than the 2.2 million gallons per day allowed in their
NPDES permit.  Repeated testing of runoff streams by the EPA, MDEQ, and
U of M biologists consistently concludes that the flora has been reduced
to blankets of Chara, and the fauna reduced to one species of worm, the
Chironomid:  both typical, lone residents of a body of water that is
otherwise considered dead from contamination.

Both the EPA and MDEQ issued Notices of Violation to this offending
company more than one year ago.  Mid July, 1996, to be exact.  Both
agencies in the meantime have done nothing of which we are aware to
bring this quarry into compliance or to collect punitive damages.  The
MDEQ, e.g., has the authority to impose a daily fine of up to $25,000;
money, by the way, which their representatives have informed my
citizens’ group could be used to conduct the testing necessary to
determine whether LSA’s removal of more than 8 million gallons of
aquifer water per day (this is just their discharge, actual removal is
much more) is responsible for the desiccation of many hundreds of area
wells. 

We, the Intercounty Citizens’ Action Group (ICAG), have compiled
extensive photographic and video accounts of the daily discharge from
LSA which has converted our once recreational creeks into opaque, milky
rapids, devoid of life.  We have been instrumental in providing
information to the EPA and MDEQ which has made them aware of the
problems and we continually seek action from both agencies.

Clearly, for us, the Clean Water Act has been completely ineffective. 
Its importance, should it ever be enforced in our case, is more
paramount than would appear due to the dominoes of other offenses which
would collapse with the requirement of LSA to literally clean up their
act.  E.g., area residents might finally be relieved of the horrendous
stench of the toxic sulfur fumes which drift for several miles, perhaps
the nearly 70 decibels of grinding din which is heard more than two
miles away, day and night, would cease and, most joyfully, perhaps our
well water would once again flow from our taps.

Wendy Tobler

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