Keeping Walton County water safe

Published: Aug. 29, 2017 at 6:44 PM CDT
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Having clean drinking water is one of the most important natural resources we could have and a proposed deep injection well in Jackson County has been a topic of conversation across the Panhandle.

"Without water, you can't live. All you have to do is look at Flint, Michigan to see what happens to people who don't protect their water," said Walton County resident who is also running for the District 2 seat, Danny Glidewell.

Now, Walton County officials are chiming in to keep the proposed well out of the Panhandle.

"Basically it's pumping hazardous materials into the ground," Glidewell said.

"The sheer magnitude of what Walton County water resources are means that we would bear the largest brunt of any incident. When you put leachate like they're talking to more than 4,000 feet down underground, water will migrate where it wants to go," said Kelly Layman with the @SafeWaterForWalton Facebook page.

Freeport, Paxton and DeFuniak Springs have passed resolutions supporting the fight against the proposed well.

"Our city is particularly concerned about the vast number of private wells and the widespread vulnerability. The science we looked at briefly just does not equate to the risk, and I know my fellow council members and the mayor remain vigilant watching all developments on this closely," said Freeport City Council Member, Elizabeth Brannon.

"Jackson County has continued to come up with a strategy to try and fight a permit at the state level to allow a deep injection well, exclusively for the use of landfill leachate which is the toxic liquid at the bottom of a landfill," said Layman.

"So in support of Jackson County and in order to make sure something like that doesn't come to Walton County, we asked the municipalities to pass resolutions opposing not only the one in Jackson County but opposing them in Walton County as well," said Glidewell.

Layman said if this proposed well happens, it will directly impact the entire county.

"Our public drinking supply is all intertwined into that. Whether it's public drinking water provided or private wells that are dotted all across Walton County, all of those would be at risk. Our recreations would be at risk, our fishing would be at risk, and our safe drinking water would be at risk," Layman stated.

"Everybody would be affected and there is no reason to take a chance on our drinking water," Glidewell added.

Monday night, DeFuniak Springs became the third city in Walton County to unanimously vote against the deep injection well proposal.

"Even if it's in Jackson County, Homes County, or Washington County, it still affects Walton [County] because our water comes from the same place, and we can't afford one mistake. One mistake on that aquifer and we don't have any water. So it's a vital interest to the property owners in Walton County, to the people who have wells in Walton County, of which I'm one," Glidewell added.

Here is a statement from the current District 2 seat Walton County Commissioner, Cecelia Jones: "Several weeks back, as a courtesy, I reached out to Jackson County commissioners and their Administrator Ernie Padgett regarding the deep well injection. Jackson County advised that it would better serve their needs for Walton County BCC to wait on a resolution until it was absolutely necessary. In addition, Jackson County is in negotiations with Waste Management, along with Senator Gainer and Rep. Brad Drake and they are very close to a compromise that would negate legal action. They reiterated that resolutions from government entities at this time might impair these negotiations and they have stressed and asked us to wait until they have worked out the details."