Monday, March 22, 2010

Roanoke Regional Airport ignores environmental debacle – video

Josephus Johnson-Koroma, City Engineer and Alex Plaza ROA Projects and Environmental Coordinator

Excuses from Roanoke Regional Airport Projects and Environmental Coordinator, Alex Plaza did not fly with Roanoke City’s Civil Engineer Joseph Johnson-Koroma Monday morning. When pressured to answer why the Roanoke Regional Airport Authority expected to not be held to the same erosion and sediment control standards as any other contractor Plaza had no answer. 

There was no permit obtained as Plaza insisted that “there was no land disturbance.” Plaza further explained that vegetation was left on the banks of the creek bed and seeding took place after the clear cutting by the contractor in the summer of 2009. The vegetation subsequently died along with the initial seeding. 

Plaza did not agree with Johnson-Koroma that the debris washed down from airport property to the low bridge at the once 3rd tee of Countryside golf course along Frontage road. He argued that “this [debris] does not all come from that up there [airport property].” To which Johnson responded, “it’s already down here.” 

Erosion of banks and runoff from airport property

Roanoke Regional Airport Authority cleared all vegetation from the runway 6 RPZ (Runway Protection Zone). Sediment eventually flows into Lick Run creek that leads to the Roanoke River. The whole area along Frontage road between Peters Creek and Hershberger is in a flood zone. 

The location is just down from the old Johnson and Johnson building now partly occupied by ADMMicro. 

The local DEQ (Department of Environmental Quality) Erosion and Sediment Control, Department of Conservation and Recreation in Clarksville received a complaint in December 2009. Dan Repella a field worker and Compliance Specialist at the New River Watershed Office in Christiansburg was contacted. 

Repella after a visual inspection directed the complaint to the Army Corp of Engineers who then sent the complaint to Roanoke City. 

There is gray area over jurisdiction since the airport property is federally owned. Federal money purchased the land when the ROA expanded in the 1980s. Federal money also continues to be designated for noise abatement of homes effected by the noise contour expansion. 

Plaza reluctantly heeded Johnson’s insistence to barricade the erosion until the land was stabilized. Plaza said there would be additional hydroseeding for the spring growing season. Two previous attempts at seeding have failed to grow minimal grass. 

Plaza said he would have the debris cleared and the erosion control barrier in place in a couple weeks. Johnson made it clear that “he would come back to check.” 

There will be more trees cut according to Plaza. 

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Community, Education

Tags: , ,

Comments (2)


March 22nd, 2010 at 6:08 PM    

This area is a disgrace. I must have missed the reseeding. Yet, I’ve noted and filmed the sediment pouring into the stream.

The city leaders must be incensed! After all, this strip of bare, eroded land welcomes all visitors coming into our fine city.

[…] they reiterated their intent to hydroseed the area. This confirmed what the city’s civil engineer Joe Johnson-Koroma and airport environmental coordinator Alex Plaza settled on March 22. Blakeman will continue to monitor the sight per […]

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