Will Wal Mart destroy an NSS Owned Cave???

Questions, techniques, gear, safety. Also visit the NSS Cave Diving Section.

Moderator: Moderators

Postby Cindy Butler » Jan 8, 2006 9:26 pm

You must tell me what you mean master, I am not a jedi yet! Cindy :D
Cindy Butler
Occasional Poster
 
Posts: 33
Joined: Oct 8, 2005 1:50 pm
  

about wal-mart selling gas

Postby Kevenater » Jan 10, 2006 2:04 am

Just a note, as it may be important to know. Wal-mart themselves do not sell the gas. Murphy is the actual company selling the gas. They just have a contract with wal mart to have their gas stations on wal marts premises. I drive a gas truck and used to work for the company which delivers gas to the murphy stations located at the wal marts in alabama. So maybe murphy needs to be brought into this if the NSS is able to step in and do something about this. Just thought that would be important to know. And i do think this needs to be pursued also. Small gas spills are pretty common when dropping gas at stations from time to time, and now and then, larger gas spills and a few of the murphy stations here in north alabama have storm drains in the parking lot, one specifically which runs into a small creek.(Hartselle, Al) Hope this helps.
KEVEN
User avatar
Kevenater
Frequent Poster
 
Posts: 74
Joined: Sep 29, 2005 5:44 am
Name: Keven Williams
NSS #: 46794
  

Postby Buford Pruitt » Jan 10, 2006 7:43 am

Keven,

That does help. Thank you! If you can offer some names and/or phone numbers for me to contact, that would be terrific. If so, please PM me.
Buford Pruitt
Frequent Poster
 
Posts: 67
Joined: Sep 5, 2005 7:33 am
Location: Gainesville, FL USA
  

Letter to Gainesville Sun Regarding the Wal-Mart

Postby wepiv » Jan 20, 2006 8:32 pm

I sent this letter in today. Let's see if the Sun prints it:

In regards to the planned Wal-Mart in Alachua, if there ever was any question, whatsoever, about how Wal-Mart feels towards the environment and something as unimportant as say -- drinking water, one has to only look at their actions.
Wal-Mart decided to go ahead with their new building in Alachua despite the fact that there is an open karst window, or cave sink hole nearby. That alone should have been enough to stop this as there is no way that pollutants will not make their way down into the Alachua Sink, or Mill Creek Sink as it is also called. Studies have been done in other similar sites showing that these open windows in the ground act as an express route to the aquifer, and thus our drinking water.
Now, as if that was not bad enough, another sink hole opened on the Wal-Mart property two weeks ago. This hole, and others that are likely to form if the building continues, will be a direct link to the water below.
It is my opinion that we have more than enough Wal-Marts around but I'm not so sure the same can be said about the future of our drinking water. Especially if South Florida wants to try to get some of it in the not-too-distant future.
Can common sense prevail here with Wal-Mart doing the right thing and stopping construction? Or if not, can our local politicians and citizens help convince them...?

Gene Page
Micanopy
User avatar
wepiv
Infrequent Poster
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Oct 11, 2005 4:20 pm
Location: Micanopy, Florida
  

Postby ken hill » Jan 23, 2006 8:34 pm

Gene,
I have been tracking the Sun on line did ... I miss it or have they not printed your letter. /K
ken hill
Occasional Poster
 
Posts: 46
Joined: Sep 8, 2005 8:17 pm
  

Wal-Mart in Alachua

Postby wepiv » Jan 24, 2006 9:49 am

I sent the letter in on Friday, so it might not show up in the paper until a week later. I just checked on line myself (Tuesday mid morning) and did not see it yet either.
The Sun has a good record of publishing letters to the editor, so I hope and expect mine will run.
Thanks...

Gene
User avatar
wepiv
Infrequent Poster
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Oct 11, 2005 4:20 pm
Location: Micanopy, Florida
  

Postby Cindy Butler » Jan 31, 2006 7:11 am

You letter to the editor appeared in the Gainesville Sun on 1/29, thanks for your support of the preserve. :kewl: Thanks, Cindy Butler

I also learned lately that the current owner of the land in Alachua is doing the prep work on the site under contract to Wal Mart. Very sneaky. By the time the City of Alachua has their public meetings on Wal Mart the site will already be done and any conservation testimony will be a moot point. Very sneaky. :hairpull:
Cindy Butler
Occasional Poster
 
Posts: 33
Joined: Oct 8, 2005 1:50 pm
  

Postby Buford Pruitt » Mar 23, 2006 5:55 pm

Wal-Mart submitted an Environmental Resource Permit application (ERP05-0518) to the Suwannee River Water Management District on Feb 27, 2006. The District has 30 days in which to respond to the application. District staff has told me they would submit to Wal-Mart a Request for Additional Information (RAI) by Mar 29th. The District’s ability to force a re-design of the site plans is limited when an applicant complies with all the District’s rules, and until we met with the District it had no reason to turn down the ERP application. The District has very little jurisdiction over subsurface impacts.

Last week, Drew Glasbrenner, PG, Fay Baird and I met with Clay Coarsey, EIT, of the District. I met Drew through Ken Hill. Fay is the Chair of the Santa Fe Springs Working Group, composed of local volunteers (scientists, county environmental staff, consultants and a county commissioner) and funded by the Florida DEP to advise various levels of government on water quality & quantity issues of springs within its baliwick. Clay is the civil engineer reviewing the application.

Drew made a very good case that WM’s engineers did not do enough to protect Mill Creek Sink Cave or the adjacent portions of the Floridan Aquifer, and he has followed that up with a letter to the District detailing his findings and suggested mitigation. At the meeting Drew pointed out that WM had done a lot of borings, more so than many applications he had reviewed, and that they had gone down to depths that were sufficient for him to make a good assessment of the subsurface of the site (although they had not gone deep enough in some places). He demonstrated that they had done an insufficient job of pointing out potential sinkhole problems. Fortunately for the NSS, he then proceeded to show where several potential sinkholes were apparently in the process of forming and could present potential problems to the cave and the aquifer in the future.

Drew said that the geotechnical engineers had recommended wet retention for the ponds, yet the applicant's civil engineer had proposed dry retention. Drew said that wet retention would be less likely to cause sudden sinkhole collapse than would dry retention. He recommended that both storm water ponds instead be constructed with impervious liners.

I had overlain the surveyed part of the cave onto one of the applicant's large-scale drawings beforehand and walked the group through the known location of the surveyed cave, the known location of the unsurveyed cave and the presumed locations and directions of the four distributaries of the cave that extend beyond the limits of exploration. Importantly, a large room named the Terminal Room lies beneath a large sinkhole that Cindy Butler, Gene Melton and Todd Leonard had radiolocated and GPS-ed using Brian Pease’s instrumentation. The cave is known to tie into Hornsby Spring as a result of dye tracing studies done by Pete Butt and Tom Morris, via a theorized lineament connecting Alachua Sink on Payne's Prairie with Hornsby Spring. Mill Creek Sink Cave would then be tributary to this lineament.

Most of the surveyed portion of the downstream cave is under the developer’s property, with only a tiny portion being under the proposed Wal-Mart site, and the entry road will cross over the cave in two locations (contrary to the 1,200ft separation claimed by Wal-Mart). My point here is that even though the Wal-Mart site might not be directly over the cave, future development on the remainder of the total development property could jeopardize the cave even more than the Wal-Mart store.

The District has two versions of the Environmental Resource Permit (ERP). The quicker version is approved by staff, while the more delayed version must be approved by the District's appointed Governing Board. The pertinent threshold between the two is whether the project will impact >=100 acres. Although Wal-Mart is applying for the staff-approved version, I have been able to demonstrate that their 36.47-acre site is a part of a larger (>140 acres) property currently under development pressure and owned by a single development group (thanks to Annette Long for sharing the legwork with me to make that case). My letter to the District asks that the application be elevated to the Board-approval level. If this happens, the application will undergo a longer review time and receive more scrutiny by the District and commenting agencies such as DEP and the county environmental department.

Pre-existing development within the project area has a dilapidated storm water treatment system that was constructed before the advent of the modern storm water retention systems that are now so prevalent in Florida. The WM application proposes to discharge overflow from their storm water treatment system into the existing system. I have recommended to the District that WM at the very least needs to perform M&R on that system before they are allowed to use it. Better yet, the entire project area needs to be developed with Mill Creek Sink Cave in mind; that is, all future storm water treatment ponds need to be located away from the karst plain up on the adjacent clayey uplands if possible. Otherwise, they should be over-sized and lined with thick clay and/or impermeable membrane liners.

Cindy Butler has worked tirelessly in her efforts to bring attention to the potential adverse impacts to the cave from the Wal-Mart store. I hope she continues in that vein towards the entire project area, not just Wal-Mart. She has been making presentations to local groups, to Wal-Mart, and I don’t know who all. She is now working on a possible plan to conduct baseline water quality sampling in the cave. She is constantly coming up with new ideas and new activities that could help our cause.

John Moseley and Al Heck have done a fine job of surveying the cave to date, and it now looks like they are about to pass the tape and compass to Todd Leonard and his diving buddy. Ken, you’ll be happy to know that we might be able to get some free legal advice, but enough of that for now.

Pete Butt of Karst Environmental Services, Inc., has freely given of his recent dye tracing studies in Mill Creek Sink, which has definitely tied the sink to Hornsby Springs and the Santa Fe River. Pete is now working on ways to fund an upgrade to the existing storm water treatment system. Bob Cohen, PG, representing the Sierra Club and a group of local businesses, has offered the assistance of his group. Todd Kincaid has offered to place the cave map within a large Florida State maintain database of cave maps for use by any agency that might want to become involved. John Owens, Ph.D., found Mark Clark for us, and has offered to find other expertises within the University of Florida. Mark Clark, Ph.D. has offered assistance in enhanced treatment design for the storm water ponds.

Thus, Steve Ormeroid and I have been fortunate to have the assistance of at least 18 people on this threat to the only underwater cave owned by the NSS. Many of them came forward and volunteered before we even asked for assistance. Some were continuing to offer new services as late as a few minutes ago. All are concerned about the health of our cave and are willing to put their efforts where their mouths are. So, the next time you see any of these nice people, please thank them. They are working hard for you, for free.
Buford Pruitt
Frequent Poster
 
Posts: 67
Joined: Sep 5, 2005 7:33 am
Location: Gainesville, FL USA
  

Postby ken hill » Mar 24, 2006 7:38 am

Buford,
Thanks for the update of the efforts of all those working to see that cave aand Mill Creek Sink is not destroyed. The efforts of the divers and their data incorporated into the reports from the PG's, hopefully will carry the day for our effort. Our goal should remain to protect the cave, and its areas yet to be explored (ie: passages, domes, fissures etc.) and mapped, by making any applicant for a building permit or variance design in such a way as to ensure the cave survives or suffer stiff financial penalties.

This "ad hoc" effort has been working and the volunteer spirit has been contagious with way too many name to be left out so I didn't include any. As to free legal advice (always good) however, Wal Mart is a formidable adversary and this is a specialized area of law we need to have the best or hire the best. Regards. /Ken
ken hill
Occasional Poster
 
Posts: 46
Joined: Sep 8, 2005 8:17 pm
  

Postby kelly » Mar 25, 2006 7:31 am

Thanks for the update,and everybody's hard work. There are legions of people who want to assist,but can't be at "ground zero". Any recommendations where letters,faxes,and phone calls that can be directed to be the proverbial "squeaky wheel" would be greatly appreciated

Kelly Jessop
kelly
Occasional Poster
 
Posts: 48
Joined: Sep 5, 2005 6:32 pm
Location: South GA
  

Postby Squirrel Girl » Mar 25, 2006 9:28 am

kelly wrote:Any recommendations where letters,faxes,and phone calls that can be directed to be the proverbial "squeaky wheel" would be greatly appreciated

:yeah that:

I've half followed this story on some of the diving fora. But my head swims with TMI, yet not enough simple directions on how to help. I'm too far away and there are too many parties for me to keep straight. But I would like to write a letter if I can help in some small way.

Can somebody like Cindy give us a March 25th status on where we write this weekend, and what general points to address?
Barbara Anne am Ende

"Weird people are my people."
User avatar
Squirrel Girl
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 3175
Joined: Sep 5, 2005 5:34 am
Location: Albuquerque, NM
NSS #: 15789
  

Postby kelly » Mar 25, 2006 9:02 pm

Squirrel Girl wrote:
kelly wrote:Any recommendations where letters,faxes,and phone calls that can be directed to be the proverbial "squeaky wheel" would be greatly appreciated

:yeah that:

I've half followed this story on some of the diving fora. But my head swims with TMI, yet not enough simple directions on how to help. I'm too far away and there are too many parties for me to keep straight. But I would like to write a letter if I can help in some small way.

Can somebody like Cindy give us a March 25th status on where we write this weekend, and what general points to address?


I understand the fax# is 386.362.1056 in reference to Permit Application #ERP05-0518 – Wal-Mart Development at Rte 441/I-75
kelly
Occasional Poster
 
Posts: 48
Joined: Sep 5, 2005 6:32 pm
Location: South GA
  

Postby Buford Pruitt » Mar 27, 2006 7:00 am

Barbara,

I'm just returning from the annual Florida Cave Cavort, but it's not too late to fax or email a letter to:

Mr. Clay Coarsey, EIT
Suwannee River Water Management District
9225 SR 49
Live Oak, FL 32060
email: coarsey_c@srwmd.state.fl.us

The three most important points IMO are:
1. elevate the permit application to a Governing Board level review and approval,
2. require Wal-Mart to redesign the storm water treatment ponds to be wet retention and be lined with both thick clay and impermeable membrane liners, and
3. require all future development within the karst plain portions of the southeast quadrant (of intersection of I-75 and US441) to comply with number 2 above while denying any requests to use septic tanks anywhere in that quadrant.

I'm not normally a big fan of letter writing campaigns, which is why I have not recommended them before, but in this case a national audience displaying national Society concern might make a difference.

Thanks for asking.
Buford Pruitt
Frequent Poster
 
Posts: 67
Joined: Sep 5, 2005 7:33 am
Location: Gainesville, FL USA
  

Postby Squirrel Girl » Mar 27, 2006 7:07 am

Hi Buford, Thanks for the info. I will try really hard find time to write tonight. I appreciate the executive summary thing.

With letter writing campaigns, I figure, nothing ventured, nothing gained. No, they might not be effective, but it's better than keeping silent.

I should be much more vocal with my political representatives.

Thanks
Barbara Anne am Ende

"Weird people are my people."
User avatar
Squirrel Girl
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 3175
Joined: Sep 5, 2005 5:34 am
Location: Albuquerque, NM
NSS #: 15789
  

Postby ken hill » Mar 27, 2006 8:13 am

Barbara,
Cindy posted this in another section of this forum last Friday. It is to the Suwannee River Water Management District and hopefully will buy our efforts some additional time. /Ken


_________________________________________________________


Anyone who want to comment on the development over Mill Creek Cave System needs to get those letters or notes in Today!

Please send them to Suwannee River Water Management or SRWM
Clay Coursey, 9225 County Road 49, Live Oak, FL 32260

Mention permit application ERP05-0518. These letters do have an effect on the process. We are trying to get an extension so we can study the cave and provide more input.

Thanks for your time, Cindy Butler
ken hill
Occasional Poster
 
Posts: 46
Joined: Sep 8, 2005 8:17 pm
  

PreviousNext

Return to Cave Diving Forum

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users

cron