By: Sharon Aron Baron
Two independent companies have reported environmental and health issues connected to building on top of the former golf course at Woodmont Country Club.
On July 9, the mayor and city commissioners will vote to enter into a Development Agreement to build 152 single-family homes, a 27-hole golf course and 28,000 square feet of commercial space in the Woodmont Country Club in Tamarac. But high levels of arsenic contamination in the soil and groundwater, far exceeding Soil and Groundwater Residential Cleanup Target Levels, have been found according to two studies performed by Solutech Environmental Consultants and Professional Service Industries, Inc.
The studies also found that Dieldrin, a pesticide, that was banned from agricultural use in 1974 was found in the groundwater within the former golf course play areas and around the maintenance department.
“Arsenic is in all golf courses,” said Neil Karman President of The Pines at Woodmont III. “It’s a given up to a point. However, the levels are way higher than they need to be.”
According to Solutech, because of the amount of disturbance planned for the redevelopment that includes excavating, loading, and hauling of arsenic contaminated soils, it is apparent that the significant exposure risks to area residents will be created by either:
- Wind-blown arsenic contaminated particles, which may pose a health threat to young children and older immune-deficient adults if taken in through the nose and mouth and ultimately absorbed to lung tissue.
- Runoff of arsenic contaminated soil to nearby surface water bodies, roadway gutters and residential neighborhoods which may affect aquatic plants, waterfowl, and fish.
- Soil and debris spilled onto roadways by heavy construction equipment and truck tires (which can be easily picked up by pedestrian traffic on the soles of shoes, or tracked into homes and attached garages by residential vehicles)
Residential areas adjacent to Pods A, B and E may be especially susceptible to arsenic and pesticide exposure (see map) since these homes are located directly adjacent to proposed soil excavation areas and surface water bodies, which may be affected by runoff and spillage of contaminated material.
Many homes adjacent to the ponds have shallow irrigation wells or wells that draw water directly from them, which may become tainted with the chemicals and residues by disturbing the area. Also, pets and small children often play along the banks of the ponds, as well as the residents who fish in them.
“The environmental study that was left out of the development agreement is a major health hazard to the community,” said Neil Karman to the City Commission in June. “This is a pandora’s box. The builder needs to remediate the situation that will be closely followed by Broward County, costing some millions of dollars.”
Solutech recommended additional health and safety studies be performed within the contiguous community.
“Do you want the public to be endangered by the removal of at least 150 thousand tons of poisonous soil? Much of it going into the air that we breathe and the water we use. I don’t.”