August 26th, 2019
Earlier this week, as most folks hunkered down in an attempt to stay dry, the Mobile Baykeeper team loaded up sampling equipment and our drone, and headed out into a storm to protect Mobile Bay. Two staff members covered a collective distance of nearly 100 wet miles, climbing in and out of steep gullies and muddy creeks at 11 locations. For six rainy hours, we traversed both Mobile and Baldwin Counties, inspecting construction sites.
During heavy rains, polluted muddy water can escape from poorly managed construction sites into nearby rivers, creeks, and bays. The muddy stormwater has a multitude of negative impacts, carrying pet waste, pesticides, litter, and more into our waterways. This muddy water is not only a pollutant, but also a violation of builders’ permits and the Clean Water Act.
When severe storms strike our area, Mobile Baykeeper staff gather sampling supplies and head out to monitor for turbidity and document permit violations at construction sites. Turbidity is a measure of how muddy or cloudy the water is, and is an indicator of stormwater pollution from nearby construction sites. How do we know where to go? We know because citizens just like you report pollution to us.
At each site we inspected, we documented any muddy water running off from the construction sites and collected samples upstream and downstream of the site. We collected a total of eleven samples and used them to measure the turbidity in the waterway.
The two most problematic sites we saw during these inspections were Montlimar Creek (Dog River Watershed) at Dauphin St. and Red Gully in Daphne. Our team will now reach out to contractors, developers, and ADEM to ensure sites that were documented with issues are fixed and less mud can pollute our local waterways and Mobile Bay.
We will continue working until contractors take adequate action to fix this issue and ADEM prosecutes polluters stringently. If necessary, we will use the force of law to make sure our creeks, rivers, and Bay are protected. If you see a construction site with a stormwater pollution issue, you can report it through our website, https://www.mobilebaykeeper.org/report or by calling us at (251) 433-4229.
Stormwater runoff is a major threat to our streams, rivers, and Bay. As development has taken place in Mobile over the years we have paved over absorbent parts of the landscape. This has caused a dramatic decrease in surfaces that allow water to infiltrate.
Impervious surfaces such as parking lots, roads, and buildings, keep water from soaking into the ground and instead cause it to runoff over the surface. Pollutants accumulate on these impervious surfaces and are forced into storm drains and water bodies during rain events. This stormwater runoff causes increased concentrations of pollutants, higher rates of erosion, and faster more dangerous flows. Learn more here.