The citizens of Jackson County are continuing their fight to stop the world’s largest ‘garbage distributor’, Waste Management, from being granted a permit by DEP (Department of Environmental Protection) to install an injection well. According to Waste Management the ‘leachate’ will NOT cause any damage if it is disposed of in a well that is 4,200 feet deep.
Jackson County residents believe the garbage juice is toxic and they want no part of it and Senator George Gainer is concerned for the citizens his district, “Everybody in Jackson County I’ve talked with is against it. If they’re not making money off of it, they’re against it.”
The Jackson County NAACP has reached out to everyone in the panhandle to alert them to their concerns. NAACP local president Ronstance Pittman has organized a public forum bringing it to the attention of the residents, with the Jackson County commissioners following suit with a public meeting for the residents to air their concerns.
Of major concern to the citizens of Jackson County is that Waste Management appears to be their own police. They not only draw their own water samples, they do their own testing. Jackson County Administrator Ernie Padgett says, “A profit-driven company pulls a sample and an entity they pay does the analyzing but instead the DEP relies on businesses to do that themselves, or to hire someone to do it. That paperwork then goes to the DEP and they file it away in a cabinet.”
According to DEP, there are 262 “injection wells” storing contaminants down where no one can see them and of those 262, four of them store leachate.
Although Waste Management officials say that the injections wells around the state have experienced no failures and they feel they are safe, a recent “leak” out of Pinellas County showed that in 1998 for seven years, 20 million gallons of wastewater that had been injected into a deep well every day had been leaking back to the surface.
The other concern if the permit is granted for the injection well is that Waste Management will be hauling ‘leachate’ from other counties into our county for disposal while making a profit from their business at the expense of the citizens of Jackson County.
Waste Management engineer Brian Dolihite stated in a public hearing that with the injection well-being a mile underground was safer for the environment than Waste Management’s present method of getting rid of the liquid.
The landfill operated by Waste Management has been in operation in Campbellton since the 1980s but was purchased by Waste Management in 1990. Dolihite says the landfill produces an average of 40,000 gallons of leachate every day that has to be disposed. Dolihite has also stated that they (Waste Management) has been limited to three trucks a day by the City of Marianna for disposal but City Management Jim Dean denied that in the same public county commission meeting.
State Senator Gainer is very opposed to the permit, “How do you know what’s going 5,000 feet down in the ground? Everybody thought the Deepwater Horizon was a safe place to drill for oil, too.”
The Jackson County Commissioners adopted a resolution opposing the permitting of the injection well in Jackson County by DEP by a 5-0 vote.
Below is a resolution from PSR Florida (Physicians for Social Responsibility).
Resolution Against Toxic Injection Wells
A resolution opposing the issuance of a permit for a “Class V” exploratory well and one dual zone monitor well by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) adopting and supporting rulemaking to restrict the issuance of any deep injection wells for disposal of toxic waste in an effort to protect human health and drinking water sources.
Whereas the DEP proposes to issue a permit to Waste Management (WM), the Houston-based company that owns the Springhill Landfill in Campbellton, Jackson County, Florida, to build a deep injection well in which to dispose of the runoff or “leachate” from its own facility;
Whereas the DEP proposes to allow Waste Management (WM), to inject unidentified waste products, “leachate”;
Whereas the DEP is commissioned to protect Florida’s air, water, andland;
Whereas Florida has a unique aquifer structure that is vulnerable toleakage and contamination from deep well injection;
Whereas an unacceptable number of deep wells leak;
Whereas Florida has reportable examples of failure of injection wells;
Whereas WM company does not state the composition of “non-hazardous landfill leachate” at the Springhill facility;
Whereas some of the compounds listed in WM previous application at the Monarch Hill Landfill in Coconut Creek, FL in 2016 have significant health consequences for the citizens of Florida;
Whereas WM 2016 application reveal that the runoff from the landfill contains arsenic (a known carcinogen), toluene (which can affect the central nervous system, cause liver and kidney damage, and is associated with birth defects), Dieldrin (an insecticide that can affect the central nervous system), strontium-90 (a radioactive isotope that can cause cancer and anemia and impair bone growth in children), radium (another radioactive element associated with cancer, anemia, cataracts, fractured teeth, and death), and barium (which can cause breathing difficulties, kidney and heart damage, and in large amounts, paralysis and death);
Whereas virtually nothing is known about health effects of exposure to unknown hazardous chemicals;
Whereas we have an ethical responsibility to protect the health of future generations and take a precautionary approach; now, therefore, be it
Resolved, that the Florida Chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility:
Opposes specifically the issuance of a permit to Waste Management (WM), the Houston-based company that owns the Springhill Landfill inCampbellton, Jackson County, Florida to build a Class V exploratory well in which to dispose of the landfill runoff or “leachate” from its ownfacility;
Opposes specifically the issuance of a permit to Waste Management to dispose of unidentified waste products that might harm public healthand environment;
Opposes the issuance of permits to build any new deep injectionwells;
Supports Florida regulation to restrict the use of deep injection wells asa means of disposal of toxicproducts;
Supports the closure of current deep injection wells that dispose oftoxic waste by thismethod.
Effective Date. This resolution shall take effect immediately upon adoption: DULY ADOPTED, this the 27 day of June 2017.
Rani Gereige, MD, MPH – PSR/Florida President
For the PSR/Florida Board of Directors