Stormwater reports stop at the Greens No evidence yet that the town ever cited developer for violations
The SWPPP (Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan) box at the Greens at Chester, easily opens, has no lock, and contains many reports -- which stop in mid-July (Photo by Frances Ruth Harris)
By Frances Ruth Harris CHESTER — It's unclear what, if anything, is being done to hold the Greens of Chester accountable for stormwater pollution at its construction site. Reports ceased suddenly in July, just before one of the worst storms of the summer, when runoff flooded Conklingtown Road and muddied local streams. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) on Dec. 4 cited the Greens for stormwater violations, which it said were subject to $37,000-per-day, per-violation fines. "The fine, if any, has yet to be determined," the DEC told The Chronicle in a Dec. 26 email. The Town of Chester has not yet produced evidence that it had cited the developer for runoff, as the former supervisor, Alex Jamieson, told The Chronicle in September. The Chronicle also has not received any responses to a Freedom of Information Act request asking for letters or documents the town may have sent regarding stormwater violations and or fines imposed as a result of stormwater violations. Supervisor Bob Valentine told The Chronicle this week that he believed the town has written violations for the Greens and would check. If he finds them, he will forward the dates and reasons for the citations, he said. He said Al Fusco and Anthony La Spina are the town's stormwater managers. Routine inspections requiredThe National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System, authorized by the Clean Water Act, requires construction sites discharging into U.S. waters obtain permits through the Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP). Construction sites covered by the permit are required to develop and implement a stormwater pollution prevention plan that includes specific information, such as drainage maps, pollution prevention team members, potential sources of stormwater pollution, as well as management, employee training, and record-keeping practices. The State Environmental Quality Review says the town engineer and code enforcement officer (the building inspector) are responsible for monitoring and inspecting the Greens while under construction: "The Town Engineer and Code Enforcement Officer will be routinely inspecting the property while under construction to ensure that the erosion and sedimentation control measure are working property." The review also contains the statement: "The Town of Chester Planning Board, Town Engineer and/or Code Enforcement Officer, depending upon the final approval oversight process that is established, will ensure that these plans and measures are all implemented as proposed and that they are strictly adhered to at each project phase. NYSDEC is also charged with reviewing the plans to ensure they meet state guidelines while periodically inspecting to ensure conformance with the guidelines." SWPPP box at the GreensThe SWPPP box is a depository that makes available to anyone all stormwater compliance self-inspection reports at a construction site. The reports are readily available to inspectors from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation when they visit the site. Inside the Greens' SWPPP box are reports signed by engineer John Petroccioni that mark the site as satisfactory, marginal, or unsatisfactory: 01/26/2018: Satisfactory 02/03/2018: Satisfactory 02/09/2018: Satisfactory 02/16/2018: Satisfactory 02/23/2018: Satisfactory 03/05/2018: Satisfactory 03/09/2018: Satisfactory 04/13/2018: Satisfactory 04/21/2018: Satisfactory 04/30/2018: Satisfactory 05/04/2018: Satisfactory 05/25/2018: UNSATISFACTORY 06/01/2018: MARGINAL 07/08/2018: Satisfactory 07/16/2018: Satisfactory The SWPPP box contains no reports after July 16. A downpour that flooded the area hit on July 25. "The permit does not require a SWPPP box," the DEC told The Chronicle in a Dec. 26 email. "All up-to-date reports are available for review in the developer’s office during normal business hours." The DEC said the Greens' permit "requires that certain documents are maintained on site (the SWPPP, weekly inspection reports, permit, and Notice of Intent). These documents must be available for the inspector in a secure location, such as a job trailer, on-site construction office, or mailbox with lock.” Excavation continuesThe Chronicle asked to speak with the onsite manager at the Greens on Dec. 20 and 21. A workman who did not want to be identified said "Livy" was in charge of the operation but had not been there for three days. The workman said the excavation work continued without Livy. Workers were running an earth machine that removed dirt from a hole and deposited it on a pile of earth nearby. On Dec. 20, a man who identified himself as Mr. Flannery was sitting in a car parked about a block from the excavation site. He said he was hired by Fusco Engineering to observe what was going on at the Greens and to write reports about anything he saw. He said the town wanted the information. Flannery was not present at the site on Dec. 21. Related storiesPlease see related stories at chroniclenewspaper.com: "Greens of Chester cited for runoff pollution" "Greens of Chester cited for runoff"