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Airport Storm Water Runoff Controversy Continues
01/22/10 - 06:12 PM
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Mary Scott Speigner - bio
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click for larger image Bay County, Fla:

An ongoing controversy continues at the new airport.  Yesterday’s massive rains, once again, bring up issues of storm water drainage.

Charles Hanson has lived on Burnt Mill Creek all of his life. He says he’s disgusted with the condition of his creek.

“I’ve never seen it like this before,” said Hanson.

He says he knows where it’s coming from.

“We followed the source the source all the way up to Morrell branch this morning and it’s a direct branch that comes straight out of the airport,” he said.

But the airport says they’re following all of the Department of Environmental protection’s guidelines for storm water runoff.  They’ve been in trouble before with the DEP for the same problem, costing them close to a million dollars in sod.

“The airport authority has a full and open relationship with the FDEP.  We have representatives on the project site almost on a daily basis,” said KBR Construction manager, Roy Willet.

If you look around at the airport, it looks like a swamp, with temporary holding ponds and ditches filled to the brim.  Willett says that’s the way it’s supposed to be.

“We temporarily hold the water on the project site then release it at a later time,” he said.

The ponds aren’t going to be there when the airport opens.  They plan to have the drainage systems operating by March.

The DEP says the water has to meet certain turbidity requirements which means it has to be clear before it gets here it goes through a series of chemical treatments.

“We’re using mechanical pumps to take that water to pump it into stabilized area in the surrounding,” said Willett.

While the airport says they have it up to code and under control, their neighbors aren’t convinced.

“It’s silt and sand that’s poured out of the airport that’s made all this brown since yesterday afternoon,” said Hanson.

The DEP says they are assessing the site.

The airport says the recent rains are a minor setback, but they are still on schedule to open on May 23rd.

User Comments

gator, it really doesn’t matter to me if it’s open or closed.  They’ve already proven that they can get away with whatever they want to with the thing.  It’s so far away from where I live now that if I ever do have to fly I’ll just go on over to Ft. Walton anyway.  I just want them to follow the same rules the rest of Bay County does. No special privileges.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/25  at  01:24 PM

skeptical, you may be right, I didnt see it up there you can surely tell the difference between mud in the water and tea brown look. i guess my point is instead of everyone saying the airport shouldnt be up there and the muddy water is the reason, we should, if they are the cause, fix the problem. they arent going to shut down the airport because of muddy water. it seems to me that the ones that dont want the airport up there is due to them not wanting any growth in bay county. i want to be able to stay here and have a good job and if the airport has the slightest chance of bringing them, then full steam ahead.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/25  at  12:53 PM

Sounds a lot to me like SOMEBODY’S bank account has a hefty increase in it….isn’t that why bureaucrats normally look the other way in situations like this?

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/25  at  11:20 AM

Gator you’re not understanding the situation.  Yes, when it rains a large amount all the bays and creeks turn a tea color from the tannin (tannic acid) which comes from the pine trees and oak trees and other plants in the woodlands.  What i’m talking about is totally different.  I’m talking about harmful pollution.  It is the same as if the paper mill, arizona chemical, raw sewage treatment facilities, or other work sites have accidental or purposeful release of pollutants which spill into our waterways.  It harms plant life, fish, shellfish, and the natural ballance that keeps our waterways clean.  If we don’t control the pollution there will be a significant drop in the number of fish, oysters, crab, and other wildlife in the bays.  If any other company had the mud runoff that the new airport is experiencing I guarantee you the DEP and EPA would be all over it with a vengeance.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/25  at  11:16 AM

What did these people think was going to happen?  They DESTROYED all of the wetlands around there leaving the water no place to go.  If that freakin’ place floods out every time it rains I won’t feel a doggone bit sorry for them.  The wetlands are just that, wet.  They are nature’s way of handling water overflow.  Take them out and something has to give.  The jerks asked for this and mother nature is responding.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/25  at  07:20 AM

if all this was coming from the airport, then where does all the other teaing all over the bay come from, even way before they started building or even started thinking about it, when it rained it stired up the bay and whamo it turned brown? as far as hurting the bay life, i dont see it? when it rains and all the fresh water is in the bay and its brown the fish swim out to saltier waters until it gets flushed out.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/24  at  10:55 PM

Let me add a few facts to this conversation.  I too have been around these bays many years.  I have seen hurricanes with torrential rains in this area.  In areas like West Bay and Burnt mill Creek and Crooked creek the water does turn brown but not from mud, it is from the “tannin” that washes out of the woods that turns the bays and creeks a tea color.  This does not harm the plants and animals and fish with any significance.  After a few days the tannin flushes out of the bays.  What we saw in burnt mill creek during the last big rain was mud and sand silt that came from the airport construction area.  This was documented from aerial flyovers and from a visual inspection by local conservation groups.  This mud and silt does tremendous harm to fish and other sea life.  We were told that measures would be taken so this would not happen.  Obviously those measures failed.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/24  at  09:15 PM

my gosh what whiners, i have been running the bays in this area all my life, and when it rains the rain causes the water to move faster which in turn stirs up the silt on the bottom on the creek, which inturn causes the water to become brown, and heres a shocker it will stay that way in the bays for a few days until everything settles back down to the bottom. anyone that knows anything about the bay knows this. the news just found a couple of people that dont want the airport up there and wanted to cry, get a life move to the next issue.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/22  at  08:19 PM
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