FLORIDA TODAY, Saturday, October 11, 1986
Throwing out wash water
Pity the townfolk in Freeport. To
avoid contributing to a health haz-
ard, the townfolk have to drive at
least 16 miles to wash and dry their
clothes at laundromats in DeFuniak
Springs, Miramar Beach or Panama
It is not as if Freeport needs a
coin-operated laundromat. One had
been there for 26 years. Until
recently when the state Department
of Environmental Regulation took
The town doesn't have a munici-
pal sewage treatment system. DER
officials said the laundry was a
health hazard because discharge
sometimes goes into a drainage
ditch where children play.
DER ordered the owners of the
laundromat to spend at least $7,000
on a state-approved sewage filtra-
tion system. The owners objected,
wanting to use a cheaper solution
until the town gets a sewage treat-
ment plant, possibly in three to four
years. No, said DER officials. We
close, said the owners.
In our observation, in neighbor-
hoods throughout the state, there
are residents who do their laundry
in washing machines, with the drain
hoses emptying in their backyards.
It may be against municipal or state
codes, but it is done.
If discharge of wash water is a
health hazard from one coin-oper-
ated commercial laundry in a small
town, we shudder to think of the
hazardous conditions arising from
the thousands of individual machine
discharges. And children play in
those backyards too.
The possible pollution from one
small commercial laundromat
somehow pales to insignificance
when compared to the urban and
agricultural runoff and other major
pollution problems facing the state.