MOUNT PLEASANT – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is planning to visit the Foxconn Technology Group site, at the request of village officials, to inspect upgrades made to prevent stormwater runoff.
On Sept. 2 and 3, heavy rain had a large impact around the state and caused some barriers at the Foxconn site to be breached, allowing stormwater from the site to run into the Pike River watershed.
On Monday, Claude Lois, Foxconn project director for the village, said he invited state and DNR officials to inspect the site — scheduled for this Friday, now that the changes have been made.
“I’m about fixing the problem; let’s fix the problem,” Lois said. “It was fixed as soon as we were notified (on Sept. 3); contractors were out there addressing the issue and fixing the problem.”
Lois said DNR officials have done some inspections on occasion.
“They just stop out there to make sure everything is being done is up to code, which they did and they have done,” Lois said. “We requested them to come out this time.”
Lois said he went out to the site on Sept. 3 to inspect it for himself.
“We take this extremely serious,” Lois said. “Obviously, we didn’t expect 4 inches of rain in a matter of a couple of hours, and for it to rain all week before that.”
Construction officials and Foxconn officials say they inspect the site when it receives more than one-half inch of rain within 24 hours.
Kelly Gallaher, Mount Pleasant resident and local leader of the group A Better Mount Pleasant, has been critical of the response to the damage caused by the heavy rain and made a video that has gotten a lot of attention.
Gallaher said she has received several complaints over the span of several days regarding the stormwater runoff into the Pike River, and she alleges barriers were removed during the process of widening a road.
“The contractor failed to prepare for rain,” Gallaher charged. “There’s probably no better proof of exactly how unprepared they were, than to view the difference between last Monday and today. You won’t convince too many people that these improvements would’ve happened if we hadn’t made a video that got statewide attention.”
Gallaher said the runoff caused by rain in the Foxconn area was “not a one-day event.”
“We have pictures and videos from previous days, which demonstates this,” Gallaher said. “Hopefully this problem is fixed.”
Lois has taken issue with Gallaher’s characterization that there has been negligence by the village.
He added officials at the Foxconn site continue to follow all DNR requirements, and he has only received one complaint about the stormwater issues, which came to him the evening of Sept. 2, “from a citizen who happened to be driving by there.”
“Prior to that, there’s been no complaints filed to this village or to Foxconn,” Lois said. “So if (Gallaher is) getting complaints from other residents, please tell us; we’ll fix it.”
“I’m about fixing the problem; let’s fix the problem.” Claude Lois, Village of Mount Pleasant Foxconn project director