It is probably safe to say that the biggest threat the soil in the region represented by the Suwannee St Johns Group of the Sierra Club (SSJ) is the Koppers site, located on NW 23rd Ave in the City of Gainesville. This site consists of the western half of a designated Federal Superfund site (known as the CabotKoppers Superfund site) due to contamination with wood treating chemicals in site soils and groundwater. The eastern half is the Cabot site which contains groundwater contamination from past pine tar, pine oil and charcoal production. This site is under active remediation. Since 1983, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) and subsequently the United States Environmental Protection Agency Region 4 (USEPA) have been responsible for directing investigation activities at the Koppers site that are being performed by Beazer East, Inc., the responsible party for the site contamination. Two articles providing extensive information on the history, background, and status of the sites can be found at the links Placed on National Priorities List September 1, 1983 and Cabot Koppers Superfund Site. A brief filed in the United States District Court Northern Florida Division can be found at the link Maria Parsons Class Action Suit–April 20, 2010. An article written by Chris Curry that appeared in the Gainesville Sun on January 6, 2011 can be found at the link Beazer Seeks Less Stringent Standards. A recent EPA action plan, released on February 2, 2011, for the site can be found at the link EPA Plan.
While Maclenny is a pleasant rural bedroom community for Jacksonville, Baker County has a long history (dating back to at least World War II) of environmental abuse. Toxic chemicals (e.g. gasoline, oil, and pesticides) have been routinely deposited on its soil. Big agricultural farming including dairy farming is also part of the mix. For example, data on subsidies for dairy farming for the years 1995-2011 can be found at the link Dairy Program Subsidies in Baker County. The New River Land Fill resides in Baker County about 10 miles South of Maclenny. More than half of Alachua County’s trash ends up in this land fill. Allison Broughton has recently battled the Baker County Commission on two issues. The first was on the construction of a medical waste incineration plant. (This issue is discussed under the “Air” drop down menu choice under Conservation. The second issue concerns the permitting of large sand mines that require the pumping of large amounts of water from the Floridan Aquifer. Two articles discussing this issue can be found in the Baker County Press. Their lins are Baker Officials: Neighbors Content (May 16, 2012) and County Commissioners Put Off Sand Mines (June 21,2012).
Because one of the main environmental goals of the Sierra Club is to preserve the land, recycling has always been a priority for the Sierra Club, SSJ organized an outing to the Leveda Brown Recycling Center on November 5, 2012. To read about this outing click on the link Leveda Brown Outing. If you are interested in disposing of any of your “white goods” (e.g. appliances), you can find the appropriate information at the link White Goods Pick-up Service. Similarly, if you have any computer equipment that needs to be disposed of, you can find that information at E-Scrap Pick-up Service.
The Spring Hills Project is the name of a proposed massive development just North of Santa Fe College. While the Alachua County Commission voted against the project a few years ago, this past summer (July 2012) found the issue creaping back into the news again. For example, the article in the July 16, 2012 Gainesville Sun by Anthony Clark indicates that we will see this project again. For a copy of his report, click on the link Project Inching Forward Again.
For a graphic vision of the Athabasca Tar Sands, click on the link.