Thu | Nov 21, 2019

Dangers of building on the Liguanea Plains

Published:Sunday | October 10, 2010 | 12:00 AM

THE Editor, Sir:

The soil type in the Liguanea Plains is the Maverley Loam # 22 -USDA Classification - Typic Haplustalfs. It is derived from sandy and gravelly deposits. The formation of this soil comes as a result of the movement of water down the slopes of St Andrew. But the soil type on Beverly Hills, St Andrew, is remarkably different.

The characteristic features of both soil types make an interesting comparison. Soil type # 22 is a moderately deep to deep soil; while the soil on Beverly Hills is shallow with very hard limestone bedrock. The soil on the Liguanea Plains has no bedrock. Boulders exist in the Maverley Loam # 22 mainly from the movement of water during its formation. It is from a scrutiny of these soil characteristic features that one is able to determine how a soil can be managed or used.

The destructive effects of the rains from Tropical Storm Nicole highlight the danger in erecting buildings (including roads) on the Liguanea Plains near gullies and drains. The Maverley Loam # 22 is very erodible. Its resistance to water movement is almost zero. Therefore, construction planning and maintenance are of critical importance on soils like this. The greater the intensity of the rainfall and the velocity of the water so too will be the damage if maintenance is lacking.

The authorities should treat the siting of buildings on the gully banks as a very serious offence. The aim is to prohibit any such trespassing. To erect building on this soil in proximity to rushing tons of water ought not to be taken for granted. We know that such careless acts jeopardise the lives of human beings, property, puts strain on budgets and social well-being.

The rains will come. We know, too, that the putting up of buildings on banks of gullies and rivers will stop when the people with the responsibility and authority get serious.

I am, etc.,

B.B. EVANS

Kingston 3