Friday, March 25, 1988
Water district's rule called
too arbitrary for 16 counties
By ANNE BARTLETT near his property.
Tribune Staff Writer Authority witnesses testified Wednesday that the
standards set in the rule are too arbitrary for 16 coun-
BROOKSVILLE Linda Martin of Odessa acknowl- ties in which ground water conditions vary enormously
edges she's not a water expert, but she has lived near and would be devastating for the authority if they were
the Eldridge-Wilde well field for 24 years, strictly enforced. o t '
That experience convinced the Pasco County resi- But district witnesses testified Thursday that the
dent to travel to Brooksville Thursday to defend a rule standards are merely flexible guidelines that help them
she believes protects property owners from utilities assess the effect of well-pumping on water resources.
that pump large amounts of ground water. District senior hydrologist Ken Weber said only 1
"I just want to express the need for protection for percent of the permit applications submitted to the din
the public," Martin told state administrative hearing trict in 1986 and 1987 exceeded the rule standards. -
officer Donald Conn, who will decide whether to over- district staff determines that a wellpum
turn the rule that limits well-pumping in the 16-county When the district staff determines thandards, thel y
Southwest Florida Water Management District. ing proposal would visions that offset the environment:
Martin and two other Odessa residents got their write permit conditions that offset the e ion e
chance to support the so-called "5-3-1" rule Thursday pa ct id icrd ce reorc
following testimony from water management district apartment enied a permit, because those victor.
experts who also are trying to convince Conn to retain ligation conditions have been developed in every cas
the rule. I'mgaware oii" McLean said.ev
The rule is under attack by the West Coast Regional I'm aware of, McLean said.
Water Supply Authority, which contends that it lacks The district staff still would be r said. "Ho an
any scientific basis and is applied inequitably by the umping effects without th re cumbersome process
water management district, ever, it would be a much more cumbersome process.
The rule says the district must carefully scrutinize Odessa resident Martin testified that in the earl-
permit applications for pumping that would reduce the 1970s, Pinellas County had to replace or improve ao
level of water in nearby wells by 5 feet, lower the 40 wells, including hers, because pumping from its Eld
water table by 3 feet, or decrease the level of lakes and ridge-Wilde well field bad reduced their water levels>
streams by 1 foot. The county also has to pump water into several"
"West Coast, which supplies water to Pinellas, Hills- lakes in the area because of the well field's impact, she
borough and Pasco counties, violates those standards In said.
some areas but operates its well fields under rule ex- While the authority's experts may have proved that
ceptions granted by the district. the rule doesn't apply in the southern part of the dis-
The authority is challenging the rule because a Pas- trict, Martin said, "It looks like the area where I live
co County landowner has cited it in his attempt to block needs the 5-3-1 rule."
operating permit renewals for the authority-operated Conn is expected to decide the case within two
Cypress Creek and Cross Bar Ranch well fields located months. .,
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