Water pollution: Goshen building inspector issues stop work order for $500 million Legoland project

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Legoland rendering
Rendering of the Legoland site in the Hudson Valley Town of Goshen

Hudson Valley Town of Goshen Building Inspector Neal Halloran has shut down the Legoland construction site, as park builders continue struggling to stop polluting local waterways, The Times Herald-Record reports.

Halloran halted all construction on June 25 at the $500 million project’s site following heavy rain that led to puddling and runoff issues.

Goshen has previously temporarily halted construction on parts of the site, and Legoland has voluntarily stopped construction at times during heavy rain, the newspaper reported.

But now the site must remain closed until Legoland resolves the drainage problems, which have led to at least 28 state Department of Environmental Conservation citations for polluting local waterways with construction mud since May 2018, plus multiple Town of Goshen citations.

The building inspector said the earliest construction could resume would be July 1, and that is only if there’s no more heavy rainful and he sees an adequate remediation plan from the construction team.

Legoland’s latest troubles follow two state DEC consent decrees, in September and April, seeking to compel fixes by the amusement park’s U.K. parent Merlin Entertainments, general contractor Holt Construction, of Pearl River, and principal engineer Lanc & Tully, of Campbell Hall, The Times Record-Herald reported.

Contractors started clearing Legoland’s site in January, 2018 but the DEC says the site lacks even “basic erosion and sediment controls.”

The consent decree agreements between Legoland and the state call for a better erosion control plan and for stabilizing disturbed soil — but construction site mud has contiuously turned neighbouring waterways into a chocolate-milk color

Both consent decree agreements between the state and Legoland called for stabilizing the disturbed soil contributing to erosion and creating a better erosion control plan for the park, which Town of Goshen officials say will open in June 2020.

The DEC has issued fines totaling $278,050 to Merlin Entertainments, a company valued at nearly $4 billion.

“On Tuesday, the Town of Goshen asked us to temporarily suspend our grading and earth-moving work in order to address runoff from our site,” Legoland spokesman Matt Besterman said in a statement. “We had already voluntarily stopped much of that work for several days this week, as we often do during periods of adverse weather.”

“Our construction team and engineers are working with the Town of Goshen to meet the challenges posed by this week’s rain, and we expect our grading and earth-moving to resume within the next few days,” Besterman said.

In September, Phil Royle, Legoland’s New York operations director, said that one runoff-prevention challenge has been running a so-called “balanced site.”

A town-approved plan to reduce construction traffic forbade Legoland from trucking in or removing soil, forcing the company to move 2.5 million cubic tons of dirt around the site.

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