FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – The Graduate Hotel in Fayetteville was issued a stop-work order after construction caused polystyrene foam to fill the streets nearby.
The development services director with the City of Fayetteville, Jonathan Curth, said the city found out about the falling debris on Dec. 7. The building safety division went to the impacted area and discovered the falling particles were coming from construction at The Graduate Hotel.
Soon after, Curth said the contractor was issued a stop work order. However, with rain in the forecast, people became concerned the rain would carry the particles into the stormwater.
“The contractor pulled all their workers down, got some leaf suckers to start drawing in the styrofoam, especially that was caught in the gutter along the streets, that might go into our stormwater system,” said Curth.
Styrofoam is a common brand name for polystyrene foam. Although we don’t know this was the brand name relevant to this story, the product is commonly referred to as styrofoam.
In order for The Graduate Hotel to resume construction work, the contractor will have to ensure there is something to prevent the foam from falling into the streets.
“They have to have a plan in place on how they’re going to capture that Styrofoam before they keep working, and of course, our inspectors are going to be more cognizant, being in the area to make sure what they’re doing is actually working,” said Curth.
Fayetteville City Council member, Teresa Turk, said her inbox was flooded with emails from citizens upset with the foam in the streets. She went to the hotel herself to look at the debris and was shocked and upset.
“I was very unhappy about this and really disappointed in the contractor or the business that allowed that to happen because cleanup is so much more labor intensive, and oftentimes more costly than just prevention in the first place,” said Turk.
What was more of a concern for Turk, was what could have happened if the City hadn’t found out about the issue.
“This was headed for our wastewater system. These were going to get swept down into the drains and then pollute our streams and be carried by the wind further away from downtown,” said Turk.
Turk said the City of Fayetteville needs to be vigilant about keeping the area clean and holding businesses to an environmentally friendly standard. She wants to look into repercussions for The Graduate Hotel.
“Depending on the outcome, depending on how well they cleaned it up, depending on a lot of other variables- I may not want to pursue it, but I would like to know that the avenue is there,” said Turk.
According to Curth, a violation has been issued. If the City feels that the cleanup job wasn’t done properly, they can send the violation to the city prosecutor and issue fines to the contractor. However, Curth said the contractor has done a good job cleaning up the debris.
KNWA/FOX24 reached out to The Graduate Hotel for a comment but have not heard back.