Photo of typical landfill Special to Alachua County Today
On Feb. 9,2024 the Sierra Club Suwannee-St Johns Group issued the following press release concerning dumping in southeast Gainesville.
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GAINESVILLE, FLA - On Friday, Feb. 9, 2024, seven organizations representing hundreds of residents in Alachua County, sent a letter to the Alachua County Commission urging the County to not honor the Legislative Extension of the Special Use Permit (SUP) that Southeast Landholdings, Inc. had filed. Their original SUP had a stated expiration date of January 22, 2024.
On Dec. 6, 2023. the County learned of Southeast Landholdings intent to exercise the hurricane-related tolling and extension granted under Section 252.363(1)(a), Florida Statutes (2023) [“Tolling and extension of permits and other authorizations”] of Special Use Permit # Z-19-01 for a C&D Landfill Facility on approximately ~48.48 acres located at 3003 SE 15th Street, Gainesville, Florida.
If the Legislative Extension is honored, this action effectively circumvents any public hearing process before the County to vet the continuation of their permit to operate for another 4 – 5 years.
If allowed to continue to operate, the Florence C&D Landfill will expand to double its present height, from 35 feet to 70 feet, all while being situated in the middle of an urban neighborhood in SE Gainesville.
The body of the letter:
We, the seven below-signed organizations ask you to not honor the Legislative Extension of the Special Use Permit for the Florence C&D Landfill.
Approval of this permit would allow the operation to increase in height, nearly doubling the current height of the facility, which operates without a liner, in violation of "design requirements" in FAC Rule: 62-701.730.
- This site was never properly designed to serve as a C&D landfill.
Historically, this site was first permitted an excavation facility called Feagle Fill Dirt (FFD) and according to records FFD had been illegally dumping on the land from the late 1960’s-1983.
When the Department of Environmental Review enforced a closure plan, FFD claimed economic hardship, with the inability to complete the closure plan, unless they were allowed to continue charging for dumping. The FFD operators filed for a variance requesting all regulations that prohibit disposal of inert materials, specifically road construction debris, in standing water.
- Water quality and public health for neighboring residents is threatened by continued use of this unlined construction and demolition debris landfill.
- Records of the pollution plume from the facility demonstrate the flow moving towards Boulware Springs and Paynes Prairie, both important public resources.
- There is no requirement to continue the use of Florence C&D Landfill.A recent presentation from the Alachua County staff shared information that shows the present waste sites for disposal have at least 20 years of life, without the Florence C&D Landfill. This provides enough time for zero waste programs to come online to assist with appropriate waste reuse and recycling of these materials.
“Zero Waste” is the conservation of all resources by means of responsible production, consumption, reuse, and recovery of products, packaging, and materials without burning and with no discharges to land, water, or air that threaten the environment or human health.
- By disproportionally burdening Southeast Gainesville residents, a predominantly Black community, with the noise, dust, and pollution associated with C&D waste greatly hinders efforts to attract both safe and clean investments into this neighborhood.
The residents of Southeast Gainesville have been subjected to the noise, dust, and pollution from this landfill for more than 50 years. This is an environmental injustice that our community must make right.
To protect the health and safety of Southeast Gainesville residents, and to preserve water quality throughout Alachua County, we respectfully ask that you not honor the Legislative Extension of the Special Use Permit for the Florence C&D Landfill and enforce a closure plan in 2024.
Sierra Club Suwannee-St Johns Group
Alachua County NAACP ECJC
Saint Peter Saint Paul Community Council
Alachua County Labor Coalition
North Central Florida Indivisible
Florida For All
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