RANSON, W.Va. — The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection has cited a controversial construction project in Jefferson County for unreported issues.

DEP authorities discussed violations with Rockwool and said they had 20 days to correct them after October 1. The construction of the wool insulation plant has sparked debate among Jefferson County residents who are concerned about environmental impacts of the facility and its proximity to three schools.

The report revealed a sinkhole recently began to form in a basin and was not reported to the DEP. Other violations involved stormwater management:

  1. Permittee has failed to properly operate and maintain all systems of treatment and controls- Dropinlets near the central area of the project are in need of maintenance.

  2. Section G.4.e.2. – Permittee has failed to properly implement controls: Filter sock improperly installed. SWPPP (stormwater pollution prevention plan) calls for triple stack filter sock at the end of the rock outlet protection for sediment basin 1.

  3. Section G.4.e.2.A.ii.c. – Permittee has failed to provide inlet protection for sediment control structure near theforebay of SB 1.

  4.  Section G.4.e.2.A.ii.f. – Permittee has failed to protect fill slopes near the forebay of SB 1.

  5. 5. Section G.4.e.2.A.i.b. – Failed to provide interim stabilization on areas where construction activities havetemporarily ceased for more than 14 days. Area noted was near the forebay of Basin 1.

  6. Section F.2.a. – Failed to report noncompliance, which may have endangered health or the environment, to thedesignated WVDEP spill alert telephone number (800-642-3074). Sinkhole was observed in basin 1 and was not reported.  -WV DEP Notice of Violation

Rockwool released a statement Wednesday stating they remain committed to transparency and shared the DEP’s report on their social media pages.

“We confirm that we’ve been required by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection to upgrade and repair a handful of controls for minimizing erosion and sedimentation on the construction site,” said Rockwool. “We were also put on notice for inadequate reporting of a sinkhole. We received this citation last week as a follow-up to an inspection that took place a month ago.”

Rockwool said the DEP has confirmed that sediment-water did not leave the construction site and they are currently working to strengthen their storm water protection.

“In addition to the actions already taken, Rockwool has contacted the inspector to confirm the maintenance is satisfactory. We’ve also hired an external specialist to perform regular, onsite audits to ensure that our contractors are carrying out groundwork in full compliance and that we minimize rework on the site.”

Rockwool announced plans for the facility in July 2017. Plans call for a $150 million plant, which will be used for manufacturing stone wool insulation. It will include two smoke stacks each about 213 feet tall, 460,000 square feet of space and could use between 100,000 and 125,000 gallons of water per day.

The plant will employ roughly 150 people in positions ranging from production to management. Construction on the site is expected to be complete in the early part of 2020.

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