The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) has recommended additional water and soil testing on the proposed site of the Arbor development to determine the extent of pesticide and herbicide contamination (specifically gamma-Chlordane and Dieldrin) and to access the amount of RCRA Metals (specifically Arsenic) on the former golf course property. Initial testing of the golf course revealed unsafe levels of these chemicals higher than allowed by MDEQ. The concern of citizens is that once the developer begins digging and disturbing the soil, Inorganic Arsenic will be unearthed and introduced back into the environment causing contamination at toxic levels to groundwater, surface water, and the air. Such exposures are detrimental to the health of the construction workers and thousands of nearby residents, particularly children, elderly and those that are pregnant who are extremely susceptible to chemicals toxicity.
Currently, Arbor plans to eliminate existing ponds, wetlands, and sand traps that are used to limit storm water runoff and protect against neighborhood flooding. Abor’s drainage plan destroys sand traps and wetlands; fills existing ponds; uses only 8 lots to dig a new retention pond; and replaces the exiting, smaller drainpipe from the golf course into the gulf with a new, larger 42-inch pipe carrying more pollutants directly into the MS Sound. Contaminated storm water from the Arbor Sites development will contain fertilizers, pesticides, petroleum pollutants from vehicles, and toxic chemicals that will drain into the MS Sound, endangering the health of swimmers and the habitats of wildlife. Dumping pollutants into the MS Sound will adversely affect wildlife living or nesting on the golf course. Birds that nest either in trees or on the sand beach and fish in the MS Sound are Giant Blue Herons, Sea Gulls, migrating Geese, the Brown Pelican, Cranes, and Egrets. The new drainage plan also threatens the endangered Least Tern’s largest breeding area on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, the nest of the Kemps Ridley Sea Turtles on the beach, and the largest breeding area in the US for Bottlenose Dolphins.