Non-profit releases WALTON COUNTY COMMISSION CANDIDATE Q&A—focused on ‘biggest threat to our regional water supply in its history’
Safe Water for Walton, Inc., was incorporated in 2017 and is a 501(c)(4) organization. It follows the same requirements from the IRS and the State of Florida mandated for any non-profit. The “(c)(4)” designation, however, means Safe Water for Walton can legally advocate on public policy issues, and take positions. Why did very busy people rally together to form a brand-new structured group that requires serious time and resources? The serious reasons are highlighted in the Candidate Q&A, and can be found on our web site.
Just months ago, in April, we launched a Membership & Corporate Sponsorships program, along with a web site. The results were incredible: You care about water! You know it is a finite commodity that we have been taking for granted in the Central Panhandle region. It’s time for a spotlight on regional “safe water.”
The organization’s Board and Advisory Council have voted not to endorse in 2018. Instead, we are offering information that helps voters—and candidates—better understand what we consider to be the biggest threat to our regional water supply in its history. Those running to serve as Walton County Commissioners were asked about a particular issue—the same one that galvanized this organization into existence: We are actively opposing a pending State-level permit application for a “Deep Injection Well,” to dispose of treated landfill "leachate" underground. See the Q&A for details.
We urge you to become a member of Safe Water for Walton if you don’t want to see this State permit approved. Join Now.
Finally, we have a lot more going on to increase your quality of life and protect local property values than “just” preventing a potential public water supply contamination crisis. Back in March, Members and Event Sponsors helped launched “Operation Medicine Cabinet”—this added Walton County to the rolls of a national movement! These fun, free, secured events collect Rx pharmaceuticals and medicines of all types. That keeps hazardous waste out of our water supply chain. (Please don't flush these down drains. Pharmaceutical compounds are not screened nor regulated the same way as other pollutants and chemicals in your drinking water.) Stay tuned! We'll announce 2019 collection dates this fall with our Sponsors.
If you found this Candidate Q&A helpful, then join us. Or make a donation.
#neighborshelpingneighbors — #lifelibertysafewaterforAll — #VOTE
NOTES: Candidates were given 9 days to complete and return the questionnaire by email. Write-in candidate (District 2) Barbara Brooke did not respond. Write-in candidate (District 4) Michael Burke does not have an email on file with Supervisor of Elections. All responses shown are in full, and exactly as returned in each candidate's answers, with 1 exception, as noted. Candidates are listed in the order they will appear on the ballot August 28.
District 2 Candidate
District 2 Incumbent
District 4 Candidate
District 4 Candidate
Questions 1-6 focus on a State regulatory permit application, asking to construct a "deep injection well" at a privately run landfill in Jackson County. The “exploratory drilling permit" would pave the way for issuance of a full permit—to drill approx. 1 mile underground, and through this region's natural water aquifers underground. The "deep injection well” would dispose of treated hazardous waste called landfill “leachate.” Leachate, in raw form, is a dangerous liquid collected from thick liners required to be at the bottom of landfills. Leachate is caused by rain over a landfill, and heat condensation, and the presence of solid waste material (or landfill waste) which “leaches” chemicals or constituents. In some cases, leachate has two dozen or more known carcinogens, heavy metals, and other pollutants, all of which are a major public health risk to humans—and to wildlife and the environment. It is well-documented that deep injection wells across the nation are failing, thus creating preventable public health emergencies by polluting the public water supply underground. Our unique Floridan Aquifer underground system literally "feeds" a vast area of our drinking water sources and recreational waterways.
Safe Water for Walton believes that:
The geology, geography, hydrology, and sensitivity (water tables) of the interconnected 6 immediate counties in our regional watershed constitute enough cause for concern about the health and long-term sustainability of the Floridan Aquifer, a publicly owned resource;
A “deep injection well” next to the Choctawhatchee River & Bay watershed area could greatly endanger the quality of life and property values for millions of people, as its proposed location is literally surrounded by a list of documented natural freshwater springs;
Some of these very same majestic natural freshwater springs are open to local residents and visitors, and are managed as recreational sites by local governments and/or the State of Florida for safe, public enjoyment; and
A “deep injection well” near a vast 6-county watershed can seriously endanger dependable water supply for citizens, businesses, utilities, and private well owners all while stunting economic growth.
1: Are you in full support of the Walton County Commission Resolution passed in 2017?
2: What would you like to see happen with this issue and the permit application—and when?
3: How many private water wells do you believe could be impacted by a failure of the Deep Injection Well, and what would be Walton County’s response if that occurred?
4: Do you believe you have a working knowledge of the toxicity and potential public health issues related to landfill “leachate”? Do you believe the region at large understands that this would be the first-ever Deep Injection Well for treated landfill “leachate” anywhere in the Central Panhandle? What sources would you rely on in making decisions for the community's future if this permit is approved?
5: Have you spoken about this permit application in your campaign as a priority issue? What has been the public’s reaction?
6: If the Florida Dept. of Environmental Protection approves this permit, what is your specific position on providing resources from Walton County to join any legal action taken by neighboring counties—and/or by Walton County directly—to challenge the State permit (through the normal State-level process laid out for permit challenges)?
7: Apart from the Deep Injection Well for leachate disposal, please select and discuss one other top priority for Walton County related to water issues—and what, very specifically, do you plan to do related to that issue?