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New PCB outfall project sparks controversy, city leaders respond

Published: Sep. 23, 2021 at 5:41 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Panama City Beach city leaders are working on bringing the first offshore outfall to the Gulf of Mexico.

The city currently has two outfalls draining onto the beach near Calypso Towers and Lullwater Condominiums. They might not be the prettiest, but officials said they’re efficient for moving stormwater off the island.

This new project would combine them into one running about 1,500 feet out into the Gulf. It would be paid for with a $21 million Community Development Block Grant and Disaster Recovery Grant.

But a project this big has sparked controversy among residents.

“You say you have support for this outfall, who? There are over 260 comments on your Facebook page on your post. Maybe one positive,” one Panama City Beach resident said.

“How much more pleasant will it be to look at no natural outfall and the breakage water that brings,” another Panama City Beach resident said.

According to the Florida Department Of Environmental Protection, the proposed outfall will drain underground and would eliminate potential erosion on the sandy beaches.

City officials agreed this project would only benefit the area.

“I know that there are those that oppose the outfall. Unfortunately, it’s based off bad information. It’s been looked at for years, we just hadn’t had the funding,” Panama City Beach city councilman Michael Jarman said.

DEP officials said the city has not submitted a permit application for this project, but they did have a pre-application meeting in June.

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