Proposed RV park inappropriate
I was disappointed in the Gazette’s editorial of March 1 supporting the RV resort on Love Creek. In contrast to your opinion, I found many of the analyses prepared and presented by the RV development team to be superficial and self-serving, especially in regard to the project’s likely negative impact on the quality of water in our wells, creeks and the Inland Bays.
For example, using data from the Natural Resources Conservation Service, an agency of the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, the developers showed that much of the soils in the proposed site are well-drained sandy loams and concluded the site is well suited for the proposed use. However, this assessment is only a limited part of the picture.
NRCS soils data are available online via the agency’s Web Soil Survey app (http://websoilsurvey.nrcs.usda.gov/app/HomePage.htm) and can be analyzed against various land-use criteria. Soils over the entire RV site received the poorest score in the NRCS analysis when evaluated for “aquifer-fed, excavated ponds” (i.e., retention ponds that figure prominently in the RV campground design), a result of high water table and unstable, erodible soils.
Similar analyses show the entire site is unsuitable for any kind of excavation and, in addition, compactable and unstable soils are prone to rutting when subjected to heavy vehicular traffic - such as RVs traveling over gravel roads.
Online data from the Delaware Geological Survey, a science-based state agency, indicate the water table is less than six feet from the surface of the land for much of the proposed RV development over most of the time during a 30-year evaluation period (http://www.dgs.udel.edu/projects/delaware-geologic-information-resource-dgir-web-application). The water table here represents the interface between the unconfined aquifer and surface soils.
Retention ponds, proposed as storm water collection basins for the project, would essentially become direct conduits into the aquifer because there is insufficient underlying soil to trap and transform pollutants entrained with run-off. Since the aquifer in this area is relatively thin and transmissivity is relatively high, the area has the potential for rapid movement of contaminants into Love Creek and Hetty Fisher Glade as well as toward downstream wells that tap the unconfined aquifer.
The unconfined aquifer, of course, is the source of most water for homes and irrigation in Sussex County as well as the source of most fresh water for the Inland Bays. To say that the health of the aquifer is a big deal is a vast understatement. I am concerned that the RV resort, which is in effect an enormous parking lot, will pose a serious environmental threat to area waterways as well as to area residents who have been largely ignored by the developers.
I am not against development, but actions taken in haste can be regretted at leisure. Sussex County may have all eternity to regret this hasty and inappropriate development. I urge the developers of the proposed RV campground to reconsider their plan and select another site.