Waste Management representative Ronnie Bell handed a long-awaited letter to Jackson County Administrator Wilanne Daniels at Tuesday’s Jackson County Commission meeting: It was a copy of the letter the company has sent the Florida Department of Environmental Protection saying that it wished to withdraw its application for permission to install a deep-injection well for the ultimate purpose of using it to send Springhill Landfill leachate underground.
But that plan generated public outcry and eventually Jackson County Commissioners had the board lawyer draft a potential lawsuit in an attempt to block the plan.
Parties eventually came to the table searching for a compromise, with Republican Sen. George Gainer spearheading the discussions with then-NAACP President Ronstance Pittman, county representatives, FDEP, and other stakeholders participating in the talks. The company looked at alternatives for its leachate management and settled on an evaporation system, instead. It will vaporize the leachate, which is created as liquids trickle through a landfill cell and collect at the bottom. The evaporator uses heat technology to evaporate the liquid portion of the leachate, leaving only dry byproduct that is then redisposed into the landfill.
Waste Management is actively constructing that system now, company officials said in a press release Tuesday.
The leachate has, to date, then been collected in tanks and taken to waste treatment sites for treatment and disposal.
After receiving that letter Tuesday, Jackson County Commissioners soon voted to have board attorney Michele Jordan withdraw the county’s pending lawsuit against Waste Management once they have confirmation from DEP that the letter has arrived and that the permit withdrawal is official.
Waste Management had something else for commissioners on Tuesday: Bell also turned over a $1,000 company grant to help the county with its recycling and environmental education efforts.
He and another company official, Gulf Coast Regional Vice President Domenica Farmer, also thanked those who participated in the leachate management sessions.