A waste management company wants to drill a new well in Jackson County.
The site would be used to deposit leachate, the liquid that “leaches” from garbage. However, County Administrator Ernie Padgett is not too pleased about the possibility of the garbage water being pumped through his community.
“All 5 of my county commissioners are very much opposed to it, I’m personally opposed to it, most everyone in the county is opposed to it,” said Padgett. “We’re disappointed in DEP because I feel like if there hadn’t been a lot of opposition here in the last six weeks or so, then DEP was on the road to issuing a permit. I think that’s unfortunate.”
Padgett is suspicious about the deal between Waste Management and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
Waste Management ran an ad in a Graceville newspaper to have a public hearing on the permit. The only person to attend the hearing was a reporter. Padgett said commissioners and residents found out about the hearing after the fact.
The company is investing $5 million in a test well at the Springhill Landfill. If approved, the well is expected to be 4,200 feet deep, and go down through two Florida aquifers.
Padgett believes there are too many unknown variables, and worries about pollution.
“We don’t know what goes in these landfills at all. What people throw away, what companies throw away... Will that well perform the way it’s supposed to be? Will it leak as it’s going down through two Florida aquifers? That’s what we’re very concerned about and that’s what our position is, that it’s not worth taking the chance when there’s an alternative.”
The alternative is the county’s current method to removing the leachate—to carry the waste water to regulated treatment plants for disposal.
Padgett is also worried that the well will also bring leachate produced in other counties to the Jackson County well, although a DEP representative has assured him that would be restricted.
Although the DEP is moving toward issuing the permit, Padgett says he and commissioners are preparing to do anything they can to keep the well out of the county.