Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Water Concerns Reach Boil; Keystone Lake Levels Becomes Hot Issue

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Water Concerns Reach Boil; Keystone Lake Levels Becomes Hot Issue

Article excerpt

Byline: Anne Sponholtz, County Line correspondent

Even as a pipeline to direct water to Keystone Heights' lake region is becoming a reality, the battle over more ways to bring water into area lakes continues to heat up.

At a recent meeting at which about 40 business representatives, government officials and citizens met to discuss the state of the lakes, the frustration over the waning lake levels and the passion for a solution was apparent.

Although County Commissioner Glenn Lassiter said everything is moving forward on the construction of a 2,000-foot pipeline expected to divert water from a pond formerly used by duPont's mining operation in Camp Blanding to the water-deprived lake region, there was a push on to revive another plan.

That plan calls for well water currently being pumped from Clay County by duPont for its mining operation to remain in Clay instead of being discharged into Bradford County.

Mayor Lyndel Hale introduced the plan and apologized several times for his sometimes pointed discussion, saying he was extremely passionate about the area lakes. On more than one occasion he said that if a solution cannot be reached to keep the water pumped from Clay County in the county, "We need to shut down duPont."

Keystone Heights resident Chester Moody also chided duPont.

"If you pump it out of the aquifer and you can't put it back, don't mess with it," he said.

John Samborski, who represented duPont at the meeting, said he did not see why duPont would have a problem with that move. However, the permitting process could take years and he expects much of duPont's operation in that area of Camp Blanding to be shut down in the next three years.

The St. Johns River Water Management District, one of the agencies that would likely be involved in permitting such a change, said it could take years to deal with the permitting process, especially since the water flows into another water district's jurisdiction and could create a battle over rights to the water. …

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