FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — After citizens, stakeholders and county officials became aware and subsequently concerned with the soil and water quality at the Lanier Golf Club, the county decided additional testing needs to be done.
The Forsyth Commission voted Nov. 15 to request the state Environmental Protection Division’s Watershed Protection branch to do water quality and soil testing on both the North Cove development phases at the golf course. This was requested on an expedited basis due to the concern of health quality for nearby citizens.
The Lanier Golf Club site on Buford Dam Road drains directly into Lake Lanier and Haw Creek, a tributary of the Chattahoochee River.
Commissioner Laura Semanson, whose district houses the golf course, said the soil testing is crucial.
There is a considerable amount of soil transferring into the pond, she said, and it now has moved over to the lake. It’s within close proximity to not only where the grounds retreated over the years, but where chemicals were stored.
“The water is completely in a state of flow right now,” she said. “There’s turbidity. That will change over time. We need to have the proper soil testing, throughout the site honestly, but with attention to where we have a critical situation up against that dam.”
The Georgia Mountain Regional Commission performed a Development of Regional Impact Summary that said the project has been used as a golf course and therefore potentially hosts various chemicals and toxins within the soils.
“It has also been suggested portions of the site have been used for illegal dumping,” the summary said. “As such, land disturbance on the site will require strict adherence to erosion and sedimentation controls and should be coupled with soil testing to determine the extent and potency of any potential contaminants.”
Further, the Regional Commission said storm water management will be critical for the project site given the projected volume of impervious surface and the lay of the land.
“The site receives runoff from some adjoining properties and lies in close proximity to Lake Lanier, a water supply reservoir,” the summary said. “For these reasons the developer is advised to maintain at least the minimum required buffers between streams and impervious surfaces, and is encouraged to exceed the buffers where the storm water runoff will be greatest and/or where the natural landscape is weakest in capturing and treating the runoff.”
Julie Allen, who lives at the Townhouses at Lanier, has sent multiple emails to elected officials urging their help.
She asked for a stop work order to be issued in order to stop soil disturbance and water draining into Lake Lanier from the Lanier Golf Club site until the EPA can assess soil contamination issues and do ground water sampling.
Additionally, she asked for an EPA assessment of the environmental impact of removing the dam between Lake Lanier and Pond No. 1 on the site. She said two separate environmental studies have relied on the two ponds remaining intact in the development.
Finally, Allen wanted an EPA assessment of aquatic resources that are protected by federal, state and local laws.
“The Lanier Golf Club soil is actively being disturbed at the site of a maintenance shed where chemicals are said to have been located,” Allen said. “The site plan shows new homes will be built in this area, but Forsyth County has no record of soil testing. Uncontrolled run-off is occurring at the site, draining into Pond No. 1 which is actively being drained into Lake Lanier directly.”