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Coastal Georgia is vulnerable to compound risks from coastal inundation and environmental contamination by hazardous materials. These risks are not borne evenly by its population but instead disproportionately threaten underserved communities. Using Glynn County, GA, as a case study, this project proposes to quantify the compound risks of coastal inundation and contamination, and to estimate their economic impacts to inform community planning adaptation to climate change in the face of environmental injustice.

The project will identify and characterize properties and communities most vulnerable to coastal flood and contamination from both Superfund sites and septic tanks in Glynn County. We will combine flood models that account for climate change, tides, and hurricanes, with detailed locations of pollution sources, and property values using statistical models for estimation of economic impacts.

At a community fair in Brunswick in July 2022 convened by members of the proposing team, flooding and water pollution were highlighted as key environmental health concerns, with most participants having experienced flooding in their neighborhoods. While local research efforts on environmental impacts are underway, an economic assessment focused on underserved communities is lacking and needed to integrate and advance local environmental and social justice efforts more effectively. Information generated by this project can help planners and elected officials anticipate changes to their tax base (and operating budgets), set priorities regarding buyouts of at-risk properties, monitoring and remediation of Superfund sites more vulnerable to coastal hazards, and maintenance and extension of sewer service.

Team Members

Dr. Felix Santiago-Collazo, Susana Ferreira, and Jackson Robider.