Norrisville tract draws erosion complaint

county takes action

Officials say weather, timing were problems

site being stabilized

March 30, 2003|By Jennifer Blenner | Jennifer Blenner,SUN STAFF

Kirk Nevin, 58, of Norrisville is disappointed about the lack of supervision and enormous amount of erosion and sediment in the nearly 3 acres in Norrisville behind the new library/recreation center.

"The land was stripped, and there has been no effort to stabilize the earth," he said. "It looks like Afghanistan out there."

"This situation is merely a symptom of a much larger problem, that choices we make affect the environment around us. I would like my grandchildren to enjoy the bay and results of the ecological cleanup," he said.

Three weeks ago, Nevin complained to the Harford County Department of Public Works that sediment control in the area was inadequate.

An earlier effort to stabilize a small portion of the site came too late in the fall, Nevin said. No effort was made to stabilize the entire area before winter, when sediment control is needed and grass should have been established, he said.

In addition, he said, no inspectors visited the area for several months.

`Aimed at teaching'

Nevin said he is not trying to cause trouble and that his "efforts are aimed at teaching these individuals that their work is critical to the renewed health of the Chesapeake Bay."

Gerald Wheeler, director of public works for Harford County, said Nevin's complaints are overstated.

"After Nevin's phone call, the next morning we had inspectors on the site," he said. "They determined that no sediment was leaving the site, and efforts have been made to stabilize the area with perimeter berms, which are mounds of soil which direct the sediment to the sediment trap and sediment traps."

I think it's holding its own," said Phil Ober, a sediment-control inspector. "It is not the end of the world."

The controls held it through the winter, he said.

Ober said the project came down to timing. "There is only a small window of time," he said, when the soil can be reseeded, and the construction of the building was delayed, which delayed the stabilization.

Grass did not root

By late fall, Wheeler said, it was too late for successful germination. One part of the site was stabilized, but the grass did not take root.

Nature played a pivotal role, Ober said. If not for the drought followed by record snowfall, the site would have been attended to sooner, he said.

Ober said another inspector took over. Sites are inspected every two weeks, and paperwork is filed accordingly.

On March 18, the library site was inspected by the Maryland Department of the Environment, which determined that the complaint was a dead issue because the site was under control and the county was monitoring the stabilization.

"Basically, she found the controls were working, but we were only deficient in the temporary stabilization of the area," Wheeler said of the inspector.

The site was found to have two violations, for temporary stabilization and renewing the permit for the area, he said. The county has filed a renewal for the permit, and inspectors have re-evaluated the area.

Ober said the contractor is stabilizing the site. The problem has been that the ground is too soft for a machine to seed and mulch the land. Workers are temporarily stabilizing the area and are planning to permanently stabilize it soon.

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