After much fine tuning to protect Jackson County in every way possible against the drilling of injection wells in Jackson County, attorney Michelle Jordan presented the Ordinance to the Board Tuesday night. The Jackson County Commissioners voted 5-0 for the ordinance. The motion was made by Clint Pate and seconded by Chuck Lockey.
Commission Chairman Eric Hill said he felt positive about where the county and Waste Management were headed after a meeting with the administrators from Waste Management, Senator George Gainer, and County Administrator Ernie Pageant last week. He said both sides were open to exploring other alternatives including a solar option. Commissioner Lockey requested the Board of Commissioners be notified of any future meetings so that all could be in attendance.
The Board heard from Marianna resident, Chad Taylor who praised the Board for the adoption of the ordinance but cautioned them to stay proactive and not be caught having to be reactive. He cautioned the Board to stay on top of this issue and assured them that Waste Management would be on top of it and have the next plan ready. The Board also heard from former Chief of Staff of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection Kelly Layman. Layman is now a citizen in Walton County Florida. She told the Board that Walton County had passed a resolution in support opposition to any deep injection with leachate involved in Walton County Monday as Jackson County had done in May. The request had come from Layman at the meeting in early July of the Walton County Commissioners. She stated that she, like Taylor, encouraged the Board to continue their pursuit of keeping the injection well out of Jackson County.
Below is the ordinance as it was adopted Tuesday evening.
ORDINANCE NO. 2017
AN ORDINANCE RELATING TO INJECTION WELLS IN JACKSON COUNTY, FLORIDA; PROVIDING FOR PROHIBITION; PROVIDING FOR SEVERABILITY; PROVIDING FOR LIBERAL CONSTRUCTION; PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
WHEREAS, the quality of life and the physical and emotional health and well-being of the people and the economy of Jackson County, Florida, depend in large measure on the proper use of the natural resources of the County, including the use of private property in a manner which could affect the general public; and
WHEREAS, industrial growth and economic prosperity in Jackson County should be balanced by sound principles designed to protect the environment and protect the County’s tax base; and
WHEREAS, the long-term effects of injection wells for the disposal of industrial wastewater, including wastewater from solid waste facilities, has not been determined sufficiently to allow a general consensus that such wells are not harmful to the water supply, the soils, the general environment, and the public; and there exists a body of recent governmental experience of the intrusion of wastewater from injection wells into public waters and lands; and
WHEREAS, in the absence of such a showing, the Board of County Commissioners of Jackson County, Florida, has determined that it is in the best interest of the citizens of the County that such injection wells be prohibited in Jackson County, Florida; and
WHEREAS, current county ordinances already prohibit such means of disposal of solid waste facility effluent without a development order and without treatment, and the Board desires to confirm that such injection wells for the purpose of disposal of industrial waste and landfill leachate (a form of industrial waste) are a violation of public policy in Jackson County, Florida;
NOW THEREFORE, be it ordained by the Board of County Commissioners of Jackson County, Florida as follows:
SECTION l. Definitions: The following terms shall have the indicated meanings, as used in this ordinance: a) “Injection well” shall mean any device or mechanism which places liquid or fluid of any kind underground into porous rock formations, such as sandstone or limestone, or nonporous rock formations, or into or below the shallow soil layer, at any depth.
b) “Sewage” shall mean any combination of the water-carried wastes from residences, business buildings, institutions, and industrial establishments together with such ground, surface, and stormwaters as inadvertently may be present, including, but not limited to, leachate from solid waste facilities.
SECTION 2. Prohibition. The installation, construction, maintenance or use of injection wells for the purpose of underground disposal of sewage is hereby prohibited in Jackson County.
SECTION 3. Severability. If any section, clause, sentence or provision hereof, or the application of such section, clause, sentence or provision to any person or bodies or under any circumstances, shall be held to be inoperative, invalid or unconstitutional, the invalidity of such section, clause, sentence or provision shall not be deemed, held or taken to affect any other section, clause, sentence or provision hereof, or the application of any of the provisions hereof to persons, bodies, or in circumstances other than those as to which it or any part thereof shall have been inoperative, invalid, or unconstitutional; and it is intended that this Ordinance shall be construed and applied as if any section, clause, sentence or provision held inoperative, invalid, or unconstitutional had not been included in this Ordinance.
SECTION 4. Liberal Construction. The provisions hereof shall be liberally construed to effect its purposes and shall be deemed cumulative, supplemental and alternative authority for the matters stated herein.
SECTION 5. Effective Date. This Ordinance and any resolutions or action of the Board pursuant to the authorities granted herein shall take effect immediately upon this Ordinance’s becoming law.