JACKSON COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — Waste Management decided Tuesday to withdraw a test well permit and will now work on an alternative to dispose of leachate.
The permit stirred up quite the controversy back in 2017 after the company wanted to install a test well to dispose of wastewater.
Residents raised concerns about the proposal and Senator George Gainer got involved to help find alternatives to the deep well injection.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection will issue an operating and air permit for Waste Management to construct an evaporator system, which will use heat technology to evaporate the liquid portion of the leachate. This will allow for a dry by-product to be safely disposed into the landfill.
Waste Management is constructing that system now.
“This successful resolution is a credit to the leadership of Senator Gainer, Representative Brad Drake and the County Commission who engaged the various stakeholders in pursuing alternative solutions,” said Waste Management Area Vice President Domenica Farmer in a news release. “As a direct consequence of those efforts, parties were able to understand and embrace the now permitted evaporator to best serve the interests of the community and the unavoidable needs of Waste Management related to the wastewater.”
Farmer also credited Jackson County resident and NAACP representative, Ronstance Pittman, for her community leadership and thoughtful approach to considering other options and in helping the local community understand and support the evaporator technology.
Senator Gainer also responded to the decision in a news release.
“I’ve worked for most of my adult life trying to find solutions to problems involving government and competing interests,” said Sen. Gainer. “This case is one of the best examples of concerned citizens, the NAACP, the state environmental agency, local government and a regulated entity working patiently and cooperatively to find a solution. My hat goes off to all involved in this successful outcome, and my appreciation to Waste Management representatives for listening and being responsive to the communities’ concerns from the beginning.”