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The Low-Down On Sanatoga's Dirt

LOWER POTTSGROVE PA – How good’s your dirt, and what’s your dirt good for? The federal government knows. Now owners of property anywhere in the township can know too.

Where in Lower Pottsgrove will corn grow best? The soil survey knows.

Where in Lower Pottsgrove will corn grow best? The soil survey knows.

Results of a revised soil survey for Montgomery County PA have been released online by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), according to a legal notice published Tuesday (Nov. 18, 2008) in The (Pottstown PA) Mercury newspaper and signed by Richard Kadwill, manager of the county Conservation District. It took three years to update and digitize the survey, which provides specific information about the composition and use of all types of soils found at a single address or within a larger area of many addresses.

That’s good news for anyone interested in dirt: vegetable gardeners, flower enthusiasts, corn and soybean farmers and, once the economy comes back to life, home builders and shopping center developers. Knowing what type of soil lies where, and in what quantity, helps guide how land might be used.

For example: over an area of more than 1,400 acres that comprises Sanatoga village center, the survey shows that slightly more than half the soil there is moderately or highly corrosive to concrete. That means home builders installing basements in the area must use stronger-than-average concrete mix for their structures to last several decades without decay.

Finding survey information can actually be fun. USDA’s soil survey website includes an application that lets users pinpoint an address or area, shown in a detailed photographic map complete with identified streets, roads and buildings. One click of a embedded button outlines what soils exist, their benefits and limitations, and how they affect 11 different types of land use.

A presentation on how to get the most, and most valuable, information out of the survey will be held Friday (Nov. 21, 2008) from 9 a.m. to noon at the county Cooperative Extenion office on Route 113 in Creamery PA. USDA soil scientist John Chibirka will be the featured speaker.

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