Church to pay $12k after environmental violations

Published 5:12 pm Thursday, October 4, 2012

By AMY JONES / Associate Editor

RIVERCHASE — The Riverchase United Methodist Church will pay the Alabama Department of Environmental Management $12,000 in civil penalties after environmental violations that happened while the church was building an addition.

According to ADEM, the violations included noncompliant discharges from the site of the addition, failure to implement best management practices and noncompliance with ADEM rules.

ADEM is also requiring the church to correct all violations.

Church Senior Pastor Jim Savage said the church has agreed to ADEM’s conditions and will pay the fine.

“This is kind of normal construction stuff, really,” he said. “From what the construction people tell me, this kind of stuff happens all the time.”

Savage said the addition is almost complete, but a date for ending construction depends on the weather.

The church has been working on the addition for almost two years.

According to previous reports, ADEM first reported water pollution violations, which included mud washing out of the construction site and into a nearby pond, in November 2010.

Those violations resulted in construction being shut down in March 2011 to allow the contractor, C.E. Huffstutler Contracting LLC, to implement management practices to prevent mud from running off the site.

Riverchase United Methodist Church filed suit against the contractor May 26, 2011, claiming owner Chad Huffstutler forged a $63,000 performance bond. That lawsuit is close to being settled, according to church attorney Brett Ross.