Six-Year-Old Controversy Comes to an End

It has been a six-year nightmare which cost five county commissioners their jobs. Now, Bay County may finally be on its way to resolving its underwater sewage pipeline fiasco.

The Army Corps of Engineers issued a permit to the County, allowing it to bury the pipeline under St. Andrew Bay with rock filled mattresses. The state had already issued its permit for the project.

When the pipeline was installed in 1998, it was supposed to be buried under 4 1/2 of sand on the bay bottom between the paper mill and the Military Point treatment facility on the other side of the bay at Tyndall.

However, only a portion of the pipe was buried because of swift currents and a rocky bay bottom.

Bay County Commission Chairman George Gainer has been pursuing this solution since he was elected over two years ago, and he's a happy man.

“We now have the machinery in place to go ahead and bury the pipeline, the agreement that we made with the contractors will be expected to be fulfilled, the engineers have contributed their work, I believe this will be a minimum cost to the county and I think its going to have a real happy ending for all of us. Plus it’s like an early Christmas for me."