Presented to the Lowndes County Commission yesterday by Dr. Noll; video to come. I’ve added a few links and illustrations. -jsq
Thursday, August 15, 2013
RE: Military Housing Privatization Initiative (MHPI), Moody AFB, Georgia
This letter is written in response to the Environmental Assessment (EA) of the proposed Military Housing Privatization Initiative (MHPI) northwest of Valdosta, Georgia, on Val Del Road (also referred to as the “Val Del parcel”).
After a careful analysis of the report, we have come to the conclusion that the current EA of the proposed site for military family housing does not address a number of potential issues commonly found in areas of karst topography. Such areas display unique geophysical conditions, including the presence of sinkholes and the potential for future sinkhole formation, as well as geohydrological conditions that need to be studied more carefully and in a larger geographical context than currently given in the EA.
Without a more thorough environmental analysis and planning of the construction phases, the danger exists that housing units will be constructed in geologically unstable areas with possible consequences for the safety of military families occupying these envisioned homes. Although the designation of “Phase I” and “Phase II” areas may have been intended to avoid certain environmental hazards, the “Phase I” area of the EA does include poorly drained soils and shallow wetlands which would presumably be impacted by immediate construction. Issues of soil moisture and runoff therefore need additional investigation as well as the extent to which these shallow wetlands are interacting with underlying aquifers occupying fissures and voids in the subsurface. In addition to issues of possible land subsidence and formation of sinkholes, the EA should state whether potential pollutants from this residential area will be delivered as runoff or directly piped into the Upper Floridan aquifer.
Please note that our program in Environmental Geosciences has for more than a decade used an area near the Withlacoochee, just one mile east-southeast of the Val Del parcel, to educate our students on matters of sinkholes and karst topography, so we are rather familiar with the general area. Consequently we must emphasize the importance of further geophysical studies with the help of such instruments as a GPR (ground penetrating radar) to address questions thus far not answered by the EA.
Dr. Donald Thieme (Geosciences, Valdosta State University)
Dr. Can Denizman (Geosciences, Valdosta State University)
Dr. Michael Noll (Geosciences, Valdosta State University)