Bay County Commissioner Cornel Brock is going into more detail about a suggestion to burn toxic waste. The waste is actually contaminated dirt from the Pensacola area. Brock says the plan could put as much as $90 million into our local economy and pay off the waste incinerator all in one fell-swoop. Brock says he has another long-term motive for the suggestion.
The old wood treating facility in Escambia County was dubbed Mount Dioxin because many people who lived in the area developed cancer. The environmental protection agency is removing all of the dirt here through its environmental Super Fund and paying others to get rid of it.
"They want to bury the dirt in a lined landfill in Alabama. Our water flows south from everywhere up north. I am against putting anything in the ground that could affect us later on.”
Brock says he doesn't want the so-called "dirty dirt" anywhere near Bay County if it's going to be a hazard, but he says there may be a way to neutralize the dirt and make a whole lot of money for the county in the process.
"They'd bring it in by rail and burn it with our regular trash. Only about five-percent of every burn would be dirt."
Some estimate the EPA would pay Bay County up to $90 million to get rid of the toxic dirt, enough to pay off the incinerator debt and have some left over.
Brock says he wants the county to determine if burning the dirt in our incinerator will pose a health threat. If so, then he's against the idea. But if it's feasible, then the County could wind-up with money to burn.
County commissioners are currently considering a sales tax increase, part of which would be used to pay off the incinerator debt.