CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The contractor of Kanawha County's $21 million "school of the future" has racked up more than $13,000 in fines for violating West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection regulations.
The school system hired Sissonville-based contractor Carpenter Reclamation Inc. to build the 52,000 square-foot Edgewood Elementary School, which is slated to open next year.
The DEP has cited the company with multiple violations since it began clearing the wooded area off Edgewood Drive in Charleston in June 2012. Violations include failure to protect groundwater quality, failure to control dust and failure to operate and maintain erosion-control devices.
The contractor also allowed a petroleum product to flow onto land surface "in such a manner that could impact water quality" and created illegal water conditions by allowing "distinctly visible settleable solids" in a stream, according to the consent order.
The DEP inspected the site in February and the contractor was again cited for violations related to contaminated groundwater.
The $13,405 fine, issued in a DEP settlement last month, will be deducted from Carpenter Reclamation's payment and will not come from the Kanawha County Schools budget, according to Superintendent Ron Duerring.
Chuck Wilson, facilities manager for Kanawha County Schools, said he visits job sites on a regular basis, and Kanawha County Schools employs someone to be the "eyes and ears" of the Edgewood project, as well.
Wilson said the school system takes the bidding process seriously when selecting a contractor. He said these types of DEP violations are "pretty common," and pointed to an abundance of inclement weather as a contributing factor.
"It's not an abnormal thing to happen on a job, particularly with the kind of weather we've had," he said. "I think the DEP wanted contractors to react immediately when something was found, and I think the contractors' response time lagged to the point where the DEP just felt that a monetary penalty might get their attention."