If there’s any truth to an internal University Transit Service e-mail, UVa is polluting Meadow Creek, and has been knowingly doing so for years. The author of the e-mail, a fourth year student (whose name I have kept anonymous), writes that the Millmont facility’s lot “drains directly into the little creek behind Bodo’s,” and that the drainage is “about half rainwater and half toxic crap like diesel, oil, and [transmission] fluid.” He goes on to write that “the problem is especially bad when we spill a hundred gallons of diesel and it washes down the drain, which has happened.” The good news is that, according to the author, UVa has begun a semester-long construction project intended to reduce the spillage and runoff. Keep reading for the text of the e-mail. 11/11 Update: Jason Amirhadji has a story in today’s Cavalier Daily that provides more information and clarifies a few points.
Date: Sun Nov 9, 2003
Subject: b: The Bus Lot
If you’ve been to the UTS bus lot in the past couple days, you’ve noticed the nice orange construction barrels, hay bales, and rock piles right in the middle of the lane that we drive buses down. These are part of an environmental construction project that will be going on for pretty much the rest of the semester. I think the basic idea was that since UTS is screwed already, why not try to make things a little bit worse?
Anyway, our lot drains directly into the little creek behind Bodo’s, and since that drainage is about half rainwater and half toxic crap like diesel, oil, and tranny fluid, we pollute that creek worse than dining hall food pollutes your tummy. The problem is especially bad when we spill a hundred gallons of diesel and it washes down the drain, which has happened. So we’re being forced to take “measures” to protect the “environment.”
These measures include the installation of “awnings” over the gas pumps and of an “oil-water separator” somewhere beneath the bus parking area. My understanding is that the awnings, along with being gorgeous, will keep rainwater from falling on fuel spills and washing them down the drains before they can be contained. The oil-water separator will catch all the runoff from the Lot Rut in the parking spaces and keep the oil from draining into the creek. The piles of rocks surrounded by hay bales and barrels are covering up the drains during the project so that junk doesn’t go down there while they’re trying to put in the system.
–> WHAT THIS MEANS FOR YOU: The lot will be virtually unusable during the construction, which will be at least the next three weeks. The South Gates will be closed for a while beginning very soon, meaning that buses will have to enter and leave through the North Gates and make some kind of turn-around inside the lot. Needless to say, there will be no swinging. Then, we’ll get the South Gates back… and promptly lose the North Gates. The bus parking spaces will be affected somehow, but we’re not sure how at this point. Basically, just follow the sups’ instructions and try not to hit stuff.
Hey, if we had electric buses, we wouldn’t have to do all this.
ALSO – It’s cold. Please try to plug in your buses if you can park near one of the fancy roll-up plugs. Paradoxically, the lot construction may make this more difficult.
And there’s still one open spot on the charter tonight, 17.15-21.30, Omni – Rotunda, easy.
Thanks for reading.