Appling homeowners worried new solar farms will cause soil erosion


Two solar farms are headed to Columbia County after rezoning was approved for some land in Appling in last week’s Planning Commission Meeting.

Another farm was approved months ago, and not everybody is happe with the planned new power source.

The trees have already been cleared out of the land off Yelton Road and Ray Owens Rd. It’s where they want to build a solar farm. People around the proposed site aren’t upset about the solar farm, they are just worried it will cause a soil erosion problem.

Appling Homeowner, Bob Neal, says, “I think this is clearly something that affects Columbia County residents. Soil erosion hurts us all. It impairs flood control and it just messes up our waterways.”

Columbia County may be affected by the construction of the solar far, but this project was approved long ago.

“If this was a normal building project, which it is in process to be, they would require silt fence and other measures, and an engineering study and other measures to prevent soil erosion,” says Neal.

Neal sees this farm as a threat to Columbia County waters.

“Clearly, no soil erosion measures have been taken at this site. It is several acres of land that right now is just destroyed. There is no undergrowth and there are no controlled measures at all, so yes it’s going to go into our waterways,” says Neal.

So, NewsChannel 6 called Columbia County. They told us they didn’t want to go on the record because the state EPD oversees the project.

So, NewsChannel 6 called the state EPD. They told us they don’t have any land in the area near Yelton Rd…the exact road the land falls behind.

“What they did is jump the gun and did a timber project, but, unfortunately, the state does not have from the forestry commission sufficient resources to inspect and enforce their own regulations here,” says Neal.

Whether or not the EPD is in charge of the project is not Neal’s concern. He believes it will eventually become a County issue.

“What I would like to do is have Columbia County interested, instead of just taking a hands off approach being very aggressive about insuring that soil erosion techniques and measures are taken no matter who is in charge of the project. Whether it’s the federal government, the state government, or any other measure.”

Columbia county has seen its fair share of drainage problems. We’ve seen it in Jones Creek and now in Spring Lakes. If this erosion problem is proven to be true and this soil goes all the way down into the waterways, this solar project can be added to that list.

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