Our Santa Fe River

Water is our greatest liquid asset!

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SRWMD completed the Upper Santa Fe River (above O'leno sink to Lake Santa Fe) MFL in 2008 and they were in process of finishing the Lower Santa Fe River (at River Rise to Suwannee River) when they lost their funding.

    Our Santa Fe River went to several meetings and engaged the SRWMD for clarification of the established 7 inches of fish passage they allocated for the Upper Santa Fe River.  Fish passage and recreation, water quality, aesthetics all being a part of this designation.  The District later (during public meetings) has conceded that irreparable harm is inevitable on this designated "Outstanding Florida Waterway".  OSFR was dismayed to hear of the another GRU Consumptive Water Use Permit allocation (30 million gallons a day) for the municipality usage this past year, it was a 5 year  temporary permit (SJRWMD permit).  This permit was allowed at the plant just north of Gainesville Regional Airport within a few miles of the U. Santa Fe River. Now with more information of lowering water tables in this larger area being attributed to the "cone of depression" detriment from Jax demands on water supply, we see that they were right.

    Here is a link to the SRWMD MFL work for: Minimum Flow and Levels

    Technical Report on Upper Santa Fe River: MFL Establishment for the Upper Santa River


PROPOSED EPA Rules on water draw fire! Read the article here in the Gainesville Sun
Gainesville's drinking water is in danger! Federal EPA must clean up Koppers properly.


    Gainesville's drinking water's in danger of being polluted w/ toxic chemicals within the next year.

    G'ville has one of the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) top 10 Superfund sites here in our city, Cabot-Koppers telephone pole & railroad tie treatment plant, 200 NW 23rd Ave. This plant's operated there since 1916.

    Chemicals used in the treatment process are carcinogens, including: creosote, chromated copper arsenate, dioxin, & others; they create a toxic cocktail, threatening our local water supply.

    Over the years, carcinogens percolated down thru' the soil into the top water tables under the Koppers plant, spreading to areas as far away as UF's campus, & within 5 blocks of Murphree Wellfield, source of G'ville's drinking water.

    Federal EPA for Region 4 is responsible for directing Beazers Corp, who holds liability for removing carcinogens from this property.

    The EPA's also responsible for ascertaining that polluted groundwater underneath is properly contained, so it can't spread farther than it already has.

    The EPA issued a preliminary 'Feasibility Study' outlining the level of clean-up it plans to direct Beazers to implement.

    According to G'ville City, Alachua County, & GRU experts, this level of clean-up (remediation) is inadequate. The proposed plan won't permanently contain the polluted groundwater.

    Carcinogen-loaded dust clouds that emanate from the site, & spread pollutants in the air & on topsoil over a 4 mile radius, aren't mentioned in the Feasibility Study. Carcinogens which exceed State-allowed levels, washed into our creek system from storm water runoff from the site, aren't mentioned.

    Nor does the Study cover noise, which exceeds City Ordinances, nor the high rate of cancer, illnesses, & deaths of people & pets who live in a 10-block radius.

    Who pays for their medical care, loss of livelihood, or significantly reduced property values?

    City, County, & GRU officials agree that public input to the EPA, re its proposed remediation plan, is important.

    A coalition, G'ville United Neighborhoods (GUN), has organized to inform citizens. It's important for us to express our concerns to the EPA in an organized manner, which makes an effective impact.



    Niagara's legal fees could cost Lake County and Groveland $4 million

    By Martin E. Comas and Stephen Hudak

    Sentinel Staff Writers

    9:40 AM EDT, October 15, 2009

    Lake County and Groveland could be forced to pay as much as $4 million to cover lawyer fees and other legal costs incurred by Niagara Bottling in defense of their request for a water-use permit, a company spokeswoman said today.

    "If all the claims made in Niagara's motion are granted and if the (administrative law judge) awards all attorneys fees and costs and damages...Lake County and Groveland taxpayers are looking at a total payment in the range of $2 - 4 million," spokeswoman Honey Rand said in an e-mail to the Orlando Sentinel.

    An administrative law judge is scheduled to hear arguments Jan. 26 on whether Groveland and Lake County should reimburse Niagara for lawyer fees and expenses relating to their challenge of the company's request for a water-use permit.

    The St. Johns River Water Management ultimately approved Niagara's permit last month. It allows the California-based company to pull up to 484,000 gallons of groundwater a day from the Floridan Aquifer through a well in south Lake County near Groveland.

    But the approval came after a months-long legal battle between the county and Groveland, who argued that the requested permit was not in the public interest and would have damaged the environment.

    However, Niagara's spokeswoman Honey Rand said the evidence showed that the company's operation at the county's Christopher C. Ford Commerce Park never posed a threat to the environment.

    In her e-mail, Rand said, "Niagara Bottling maintains that Groveland and Lake County filed the challenge to their permit for the primary purpose of delaying issuance - because they had no realistic expectation of prevailing. If the (judge) agrees, the in addition to attorneys' fees and costs, Niagara would be entitled to be compensated for any business losses it suffered by virtue of the fact that the petitioners succeeded in delaying issuance of the permit from July 2008 to September 2009."

    According to government invoices obtained last month, Groveland spent more than $750,000 and Lake spent about $280,000 on legal fees.

    The January hearing is scheduled to start at 9 a.m. before state administrative law judge Bram Canter at the Zora Neale Hurston Building, north tower, room N101, at 400 W. Robinson St. in Orlando.

    Rand pointed out that Groveland could face additional penalties if the city decides to appeal the decision by the St. Johns River Water Management District to issue the permit.

    "If they do, it will likely cost upwards of $150,000 for each side to handle the appeal process," Rand said.

    Copyright © 2009, Orlando Sentinel

The St. Johns and Suwannee River water management districts have scheduled meetings to plan how to prevent harm to the Santa Fe River. These are the next ones:

- Thursday, 5:45 p.m.; public discussion meeting at the Bradford County Public Library, 456 W. Pratt St., Starke.

- Thursday, Oct. 15, 10 a.m.; meeting of a water supply planning group at the Andrews Center Cultural Bldg., 201 E. Call St., Starke.

- Thursday, Oct. 22, 9 a.m.; meeting of a modeling subgroup at the St. Johns River Water Management District headquarters, 4049 Reid St., Palatka.

LAKE CITY - Jacksonville's thirst appears to pose a bigger threat to rural North Florida water supplies than the water demand from within that region, early estimates by state agencies show.

The findings bolster earlier forecasts that measures will be needed to limit new demands for ground water in Northeast Florida.

State regulators have already warned that growing water use is likely to create supply issues closer to Jacksonville.

In a meeting Tuesday with people interested in the health of Ichetucknee Springs, about 70 miles southwest of Jacksonville, a state water manager shared preliminary forecasts of how much the region's water consumption could lower Floridan Aquifer levels in that area over the next 20 years.

The forecasts show water use in Northeast Florida lowering those levels in inland areas significantly more than the use by people who actually live in inland communities in Bradford, Union, Alachua and Columbia counties.

Those forecasts suggest that part of the Santa Fe River, into which the Ichetucknee River drains, could have damage to its fish and plants if water use in Northeast Florida isn't controlled.

State regulators are "definitely" seeking other ways to supply that water, said David Hornsby, a project manager with the St. Johns River Water Management District.

He told the group that state rules won't allow withdrawing ground water if it hurts the Santa Fe, which starts near Keystone Heights in Clay County and winds west to the Suwannee River.

Special regulations set a minimum amount of water that has to be preserved for the Santa Fe, which is fed partly by springs connected to the aquifer.

'Cumulative impact' eyed

But Hornsby said it would be a mistake to focus solely on effects from Northeast Florida, describing the risk to the Santa Fe as "a cumulative impact" from many sources.

Managers from two water districts - the St. Johns and Suwannee - will settle jointly on a plan to avoid problems, he said. Both districts are facing a 2010 deadline for doing that.

"The water of the state of Florida is the state's. It is not any one person's or entity's," Hornsby said.

The forecast of trouble is based on estimates that Northeast Florida's population will grow from its 1995 level of 1.2 million people to about 2.7 million by 2030. But those figures are also being rechecked because of the state's sudden drop-off in growth.

While Jacksonville's footprint is worrying water managers now, water use in coastal areas has actually been drawing ground water away from the Suwannee-Santa Fe area for decades, said Trey Grubbs, a scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey.

Grubbs said under natural conditions, a sort of boundary line arcing from Keystone Heights north through Baker County and into Georgia would represent the divide where ground water would either flow east toward the coast or west toward the Suwannee.

But by 1980, that line had shifted west into Union and Columbia counties, he said. And because more water is being drawn toward the coast today, the line has moved a little further west since then, Grubbs said.


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