MILTON, Fla. (WALA) - The potential introduction of a landfill to Santa Rosa County has some residents and officials concerned over what effects the site could have on the environment.
Emotions ran high at the Santa Rosa County Committee meeting as numerous residents spoke out on the possibility of a construction and demolition debris landfill being built in the heart of Milton.
Officials said the proposed site, owned by Blue Water Holdings SRC Incorporated, would be located in a 150 plus acre lot near Jeff Ates Road.
Residents say the location is close to several rivers, including the East Milton wells where residents get their drinking water.
Kyle Holly has lived in Santa Rosa County for 46 years. He said he's against the measure.
"This landfill is in a spot that's not just bad for the water or the military going forward. It's in a terrible place with regard to additional investment that could employee some of our people that are hurting now," said Holly. "We have no alternative drinking water. That's not just what we take a bath in and drink in our homes. It's what supports industry that provides jobs for people. It's critical."
Wallis Mahute has lived in the area for years. She said she's against the landfill despite new regulations requiring a protective lining.
"Liners won't last forever. You're still going to have fires. You're still going to have stench," Wahute said.
Commissioner Bob Cole said Blue Water Holdings purchased the land from the county around five years ago and needs a permit to build.
Blackwater River is one of the bodies of water residents are concerned could get polluted if the landfill goes through.
Commissioner Bob Cole said if things work out. He has different ideas for the property.
"There's a lot of interest in conserving the land and preserving it for recreation and future use. If we deny it and they take it to a judge, it'll be up to him. If not, we can look at purchasing the land," said Cole.
According to Jeffrey L. Claunch, owner of Blue Water Holdings SRC, Inc., said they have been working on the deal with Santa Rosa County for years.
"We would not build the landfill if we were not running it in a safe and environmentally friendly way. We have followed every letter of the law and hope the county will grant the final permits that their due," Claunch said.
Commissioners said the permit slipped through the cracks after going through the Planning and Zoning Commission.
Some argue that the project may pollute and affect cleanliness of water and residents are concerned about quality of life in the county. Other say it could bring jobs, but opponents contend that industry would shy away from the area, which would have a landfill.
The commissioners will have their final vote on the matter on Thursday, February 14.
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