The average construction site releases 35-45 tons of sediment a year into our waterways. Studies show that 19% of the phosphorus in our lakes--an important nutrient that causes the growth of toxic algae--comes from construction site erosion. Numerous studies and groups, including Yahara CLEAN, have called for tighter enforcement of construction sites.
Disaster at Edgewood Av in 2010. This street reconstruction project repeatedly dumped mud into nearby Lake Wingra... despite repeated warnings that controls were shoddy.It's natural to assume that construction erosion is caused by contractors who cut corners. Yet the City* is responsible for making or approving the plans for erosion control at construction sites, and is also responsible for inspecting and enforcing. Basically, the City is only weakly enforcing existing laws, in order to save money.
More about construction erosion
More about Edgewood Av failures
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* The City is delegated responsibility by DNR (Under the federal Clean Water Act) to make sure the law is carried out. Likewise, for State construction projects, DNR supervises, but the Dept. of Administration also plays a role. The same body of government both plans the projects, and supervises compliance with erosion control. So it's a conflict of interest--with no surprise that erosion control is lax.