Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Eagle Harbor Water at Issue Utility Authority, Developer Work on New Arrangement

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Eagle Harbor Water at Issue Utility Authority, Developer Work on New Arrangement

Article excerpt

Earlier this year, when the water system in Eagle Harbor was

suspected of being to blame for a parasitic illness that spread

through the community, the Clay County Utility Authority got

some startling news.

The news was that, as far as the Florida Department of

Environmental Protection was concerned, the authority was

responsible for the water quality in Eagle Harbor.

Although The Crossings Community Development District owned,

operated and maintained the Eagle Harbor system, the authority

pumped water from the county system into the Eagle Harbor system

and out the other side.

Therefore the buck stopped with the authority, in the eyes of

state environmental regulators. The Eagle Harbor system, DEP

officials said, was part of the county system, despite its

ownership.

That put the authority in the uncomfortable position of having

all the responsibility for the system, but no control over how

it was operated or maintained, said Executive Director Ray

Avery.

"We have to be responsible for it whether we own it or not," he

told the authority's board of supervisors last week. "That is

the way DEP is looking at it: `It's your water, you're feeding

it, you have to maintain the quality of the water.'"

Lynal DeFalco, an environmental specialist in the drinking

water section of DEP's Jacksonville office, confirmed the agency

would hold the authority accountable for Eagle Harbor water

quality.

"That was the department's position . . . that the utility

authority would be responsible," she said.

Also, the state agency recently mandated that the authority

sign off on all DEP water and wastewater permits issued for new

Eagle Harbor subdivisions, Avery said. Permits for two new

subdivisions there are now on hold because of that requirement,

he said. …

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