Assault on the water bill
Florida builders are attacking it. Agri-
business strongly opposes.it The real estate in-
dustry doesn't like it. Chemical companies are
ganging up against it.
All this opposition is directed toward the
Water Quality Assurance Act of 1983. If you
listen to the Tallahassee lobbyists, you get the
impression that no one supports the bill de-
signed to protect the purity of Florida's drink-
Why aren't the environmentalist and
health officials speaking up? If they don't,
there's a frightening chance that the business
lobbies will prevail.
THE SPECIAL interests already have
managed to water down the bill. A Florida
House committee, for exainple, approved a
weakened version of the bill last week and elim-
inated the proposed tax increase that would
have paid for most of it.
The Natural Resources Committee shelved
a plan to build new sewage treatment plants
with a 20-cent increase in the documentary-
stamp tax on real estate transactions. That tax
would have raised $50-million annually for five
years to help localities. particularly small cities,
pay for new treatment plants. In addition, it
agreed to reduce from 5 percent to 1.5 percent a
proposed tax on the wholesale value of
chemicals and pesticides sold in Florida. That
tax is to be used for the cleanup of dangerous
hazardous waste sites.
The panel also dropped a plan to give the
State Department of Environmental Regula-
tion (DER) the regulatory authority Agricul-
ture Commissioner Doyle Connor now has over
pesticides. Instead, it created a five-member
Committee on Pesticide Evaluation to make
recommendations to Connor on pesticide use.
The committee further weakened the bill by
approving less stringent restrictions on the use
of septic tanks than the original proposal. The
amended bill allows two septic tanks per acre
where drinking water is drawn from a private
well, and four per acre where water comes from
a private system twice as many as the origi-
Floridians concerned about the safety of
their drinking water should keep a close eye on
this bill as it moves through various legislative
committees. The bill is based on the recommen-
dations of a task force that concluded the
state's drinking water faces a "real and immedi-
ate" threat from hazardous wastes, sewage and
pesticides. If too many changes are made to
please the special interests that oppose it, the
bill will not accomplish what it is supposed to
do prevent the contamination of Florida's
S"To get what everybody wants, everybody's
going to have to give a little." says Natural Re-
sources Committee Chairman Jon Mills. That
may be true. But the danger is that the legis-
lators will give too much to the special inter.
It's already evident that the special inter-
ests are formidable foes of the water-protection
bill The homebuilders and real estate industry
oppose the documentary-stamp tax increase.
The farmers are against the proposal to give
DER the authority to regulate pesticide. The
chemical companies are fighting a.tax on their
products. And the members of the Natural Re-
sources Committee who relieved $150,420 in
campaign contributions last year from these
special interests weakened the bill at their
THAT MAKES you wonder what the oth-
er legislators indebted to special interests will
do to the bill. The real estate industry, agricul-
tural interests, builders, manufacturers and
heavy industry contributed $1,467,691 to the
campaigns of the Florida legislators elected last
year. Measured against the lawmakers' total
campaign funds of S7.8-million, almost
$1.5-million is more than enough to get their
The. assault on the water-protection bill
presents a tremendous challenge to environ-
mentalists, health officials and the people. Now
is the time to lobby in favor of strong legisla-
tion. Those who want to prevent the poisoning
of Florida's water will have to shout to be heard
over the objections of special interests. If they
don't, the safety of Florida's drinking water
- might be sacrificed to business and agricultural
Mastering the art
of selling education
He tells business leaders that better schools
mean better employees. He tells union leaders that
better schools mean better members. He tells war
veterans that better schools mean better national
Give Gov. Bob Graham an audience any
audience and he'll give it an education.
That's Graham's strategy these days as he heads
into the home stretch of his battle to improve
Florida schools by raising taxes
more than half-a-billion dollars.
When he first announced his
tax plans in February, Graham
met with stiff resistance from
S those who said last year's 1-cent
sales-tax increase was enough.
SWhen lawmakers passed a gas-
tax increase during a special
session last month, the
And when a citizens group
Graham collected enough signatures to
put a Proposition 13-type tax proposal on next
year's ballot, the resistance seemed
Now Graham thinks he sees an opening.
While lawmakers are quietly waiting on next
month's economic forecasts to make their tax
decisions, Graham is focusing attention on his
education plans and ignoring the thorny problem of
how to pay for them.
He's hoping that by the time lawmakers are
ready to deal with taxes, his education plans will
look too good to resist no matter what they cost.
To that end, he has mobilized the powerful
education lobby and convinced business leaders to
push his program.
But Graham's aides say the education battle is
Graham's most personal since becoming governor.
and he's taking on much of the lobbying effort
himself. He's meeting daily with three or four
legislators. Education is the No. 1 topic of
To each lawmaker, he has given a booklet
detailing how much money their county's schools
would get under his plan. The governor believes if
legislators know what's in it for them, they'll find it
harder to turn him down. But Graham's greatest
chance for legislative influence is through the voters,
who re-elected him last year by a 2-1 margin.
If he educates the public about education, he
believes, the public will educate their
representatives. Since the session began, Graham
has spoken to no less than six civic groups, ranging
from business leaders to disabled veterans.
For Graham. the education battle also is an
issue of political security.
He wants to raise taxes this year so he doesn't
have to ask again. That's because Graham has his
eye on a U.S. Senate seat in 1986, and he wants his
tax-talk behind him and his education goals met.
Graham also has a heavy debt to pay.
The education lobby which extends to school-
board members, teachers, school administrators
and parents threw its full support behind him last
fall. The governor owes them his full support this
This morning, Graham continues his education
campaign when the Cabinet at Graham's request
- holds a special meeting to discuss the so-called
Brown report an education study that has formed
the basis of Senate President Curtis Peterson's
Graham's education push also should be
reflected in his next workday, scheduled for Friday.
Look for the governor to spend the day as a teacher.
trying to give his students and the public an
education they won't forget
THE TAMPA TRIBUNE, Tuesday, April 19.1983
Alafia phosphate clay
spill being evaluated
By PATRICE FLINCHBAUGH
Tribune Staff Writer
State and county officials Mon-
day began investigating the possible
effect of a weekend phosphate clay
spill from Brewster Phosphates Inc.
on the Alafia River's South Prong.
Clays can smother fish food and
clog up tiny creatures that feed
along the riverbed, according to
Swirling with tannin-colored
river water on Saturday and Sunday,
k the clays tinted the Alafia like
q cream in coffee, one resident told
Milky water was spotted 10 miles
downstream of Halls Branch, the
small creek near the southeastern
Hillsborough County town of Picnic
where the spill occurred, according
to citizens' complaints to officials.
One state official said Brewster's
spill should not be confused with the
catastrophic spills from clay slime
ponds that have occurred in the
past. In the early 1950s, the contents
of a Mobil Chemical Co. pond rup-
tured a dike, sending large amounts
of slimy wastes into the Peace Iiver.
That accident prompted the state to
strengthen dike requirements at
More recently, Mobil paid the
state $7,054.81 for environmental
damage along the Peace River. Last
fall. a slime pond being capped with
sand washed out, sending 10,000
cubic yards of sand and clay over
five acres along the Peace.
In this weekend's Brewster inci-
dent, a pump apparently "blew"-
near a mining pit, filling the pit with.
water that eventually overflowed.
The water carried clays and phos-:
phate ore 200 yards from the pit to a-
ditch, overflowed the ditch, and con--
tinued 50 yards into the creek, ac-'
cording to Michael Heerschaap, a'
county environmental specialist.
Brewster's Lonesome Mine man-'
ager Robert Leitzman characterized"
the spill as "minor," saying that it-
was reported first thing Monday,
morning to the Florida Department:
of Environmental Regulation and-
counfy Environmental Protection:
Leitzman said the company has'
not yet calculated how much ma-
terial got into the creek. He also said
cleanup operations were under way.
"It doesn't look to be anything-
but a minor incident," said Leitz-.
man. "We probably should have had"
a higher berm (around the mining
William K. Hennessey, southwest
regional director of DER. said Mon-
day he did not know the extent of
the spill. Laboratory analysis could
yield a clue later this week.
Heerschaap, an EPC environ-
mental specialist who inspected the
spill site Monday, said, "Judging by
the number of complaints 12 -
from residents and if it got that f4r
down (10 miles), I would consider it
more than minor."
Heerschaap said EPC and DER
gathered water samples Monday to
determine if Brewster had violated
water quality standards.
FORT LAUDERDALE (AP)
- A University of Florida horti-
culturist is using an inexpensive
means of detoxifying sewage
sludge to increase growth of orna-
mental plants by as much as 25
If the sludge were composted
and used as a potting medium,
municipalities would no longer
need to lease land for its disposal,
and the compost would be
cheaper than commercial potting
mixes, said Dr. George Fitzpat-
rick of the Institute of Food and
But if all the sludge produced
in Dade, Broward and Palm
Beach counties over a year's time
were composted, "it could only
meet the 'demands of the orna-
mental plant industry down here
for three months," Fitzpatrick
In his experiments, Fitzpat-
rick composts sludge by mixing it
with a bulking agent such as tree
clippings or leaves. The mixture
is then stacked or windrowed in
piles under the sun where it
reaches temperatures high
enough to kill dangerous bacteria
"I think there's a good chance
It would work on food crops with
no harmful side effects, but right
now, ornamentals are the safest
bet and there is a tremendous or-
namental Industry down here."
said Fitzpatrick. who is also vice
chairman of the Broward County
Environmental Quality Control
Florida halts use
of Temik for year
TALLAHASSEE (AP) Florida's agri-
culture commissioner has suspended the use
of the controversial pesticide Temik for the
rest of the year.
Commissioner Doyle Conner said yester-
day he filed the so-called permanent rule be-
cause he wanted more tests done on the pes-
ticide's use in Florida. Earlier this year,
Conner had said he was concerned about the
use of Temik in Florida because traces of
the substance had been found in drinking-
water wells in Central Florida.
"The intent is to give us at least until the
balance of the year to determine what's
happening with this stuff," said Frank Gra-
ham, a state Agriculture Department law-
Environmentalists have complained Tem-
ik is dangerous to the public health. The
manufacturer, Union Carbide, says the sub-
stance is safe if used properly.
Florida citrus growers credit Temik with
increasing yields and say the pesticide is
one of the few substances that can control
certain citrus pests.
About 15 percent of Florida's 850,000 acres
of citrus groves have been treated with
Temik, which moves through the trees and
into the fruit to control insects. It also is
used in some North Florida potato fields.
The suspension announced yesterday will
take effect in 20 days, Graham said.
The yearlong ban was imposed after Fort
Pierce businessman Harold Brown with-
drew his challenge to Conner's suspension
Brown, who sells Temik to citrus growers,
said Conner's suspension would cost grow-
ers $126 million a year.
The new yearlong suspension provides ex-
emptions for people who use Temik in pot-
ted plants, for experimental uses and for
several potato-farming counties in North-
east Florida, Graham said.
Conner declares Temik
off limits for rest of '83
By MIKE McQUEEN
Florida's Agriculture Commission-
er on Monday suspended the use of the
controversial farm pesticide Temik
for the rest of the year.
Commissioner Doyle Conner said
he filed the so-called permanent rule
because he wanted more tests done on
the pesticide's use in Florida.
Earlier this year, Conner had said
he was concerned about the use of
Temik in Florida because traces of
the substance had been found in drink-
ing-water wells in Central Florida.
"The intent is to give us at least
until the balance of the year to deter-
mine what's happening with this
stuff," said Frank Graham, an Agri-
culture Department lawyer.
Environmentalists have com-
plained Temik is dangerous to the
The manufacturer, Union Carbide,
says the substance is safe if used prop-
Florida citrus growers credit Tem-
ik with increasing yields and say the
pesticide is one of the few substances
that can control certain citrus pests.
About 15 percent of Florida's 850,-
000 acres of citrus groves have been
treated with Temik, which moves
through the trees and into the fruit to
But the ban will have little or no
impact on North Florida farmers,
said Lawrence Heitmeyer, the Leon
County agriculture extension agent.
"We are not as adversely affected,
certainly, as the citrus people," Heit-
Temik, however, had been recently
approved for use on soybeans. Soy-
beans are grown extensively in Jack-
son, Walton, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa.
Lafayette and Gilchrist counties,
Heitmeyer said, but farmers there
had probably not had time to make
much, if any use of it.
Florida concern over the use of the
chemical aldicarb, the active ingredi-
ent in Temik, surfaced three years ago
after the pesticide contaminated
groundwater in Suffolk County on
New York's Long Island.
The suspension announced Monday
will take effect in 20 days, Graham
The yearlong ban was imposed af-
ter Fort Pierce businessman Harold
Brown withdrew his challenge to Con-
Brown, who resells Temik to citrus
growers, said Conner's suspension
would cost growers $126 million a
Brown withdrew the challenge, and
state hearing officer Diane Tremor
dismissed the case last Friday, Gra-
now on until
By Victoria Churchvile
OF THE SNTINEL STAFF
Florida Agriculture Commis-
sioner Doyle Conner, confident
that legal challenges to his
authority over the pesticide
Temik are exhausted, Monday
banned use of the chemical for
the rest of the year.
Conner said filing what's called
a permanent ban was made easier
when a Fort Pierce citrus grower
withdrew his attack on Conner's
power to suspend sales and most
uses of Temik.
"The legal gymnastics have
subsided somewhat by Harold
Brown's withdrawal," Conner
Brown, who earns about half his
income from applying agricultural
chemicals such as Temik, lost an
earlier effort to block a temporary
Temik ban that expired at mid-
After traces of Temik were
found in an Orange County fam-
ily's drinking water well Jan. 27,
Conner used special emergency
powers to ban the pesticide.
During the emergency ban,
more Temik residues were found
in three other Central Florida
drinking wells, including a 240-
foot-deep Volusia County well
tapped into the Floridan aquifer.
Those findings prompted Conner
to propose banning Temik, except
on potted plants, for the rest of
Brown immediately asked the
Department of Administration,
which settles disputes over state
agency actions, to quash Conner's
proposal to extend the ban. The
procedure would have taken
Certain that the delay .would
punch holes in the emergency
suspension, agriculture officials
scurried this month to come up
with a legal maneuver to close the
Conner slapped a second
temporary ban on the pesticide
April 8. He said that Brown's
challenge and the evidence of
further Temik contamination of drinking supplies
had triggered a new emergency.
But Brown withdrew his challenge to the longer
ban and state hearing officer Diane Tremor said she
dismissed the case last Friday.
Brown said he withdrew his challenge because he
feared it would result in widespread Temik applica-
tion during the lapse between the temporary and
More than $10 million worth of Temik, favored by
Florida citrus, soybean, peanut and potato growers,
already had been sold in the state early this year be-
fore the first ban.
Brown said he knew some citrus growers were ea-
ger to apply the pesticide if use became legal
through a "window" between bans. Fearing the
same thing, Conner imposed the second emergency
"We're covered either by the temporary first and
second, then by the permanent ban that will cover
all of 1983," Conner said.'
Controversy over Temik has centered on its fail-
ure to break down in Florida's environment. Its
manufacturer, Union Carbide, said that the chemical
does not pose a threat to Florida drinking water sup-
plies or produce.
"Well, with the lateness of the season, we don't
want anything such as a window," Brown said. "We
would not like to see any use that wasn't reported
and strictly legal because it might show up as resi-
dues and be interpreted as year-old residues."
Union Carbide spokesman William Hoerger said
the company believes Conner's action is too drastic.
"I can say that the company is disappointed that it
required this kind of action," he said. "And to this
day we do not believe this temporary suspension is
"We have committed to working with the state
agencies to help demonstrate through the. research
that is under way now through the summer that the
product is environmentally safe to use in the state."
Next fall, Conner must decide whether research
now being conducted has shown that Temik can be
used in Florida without tainting the state's vast un-
derground water reservoirs that supply 9 out of 10
residents with drinking water.
Brown said, "We haven't given up. Well be back
in in October or maybe before, fighting for a new
rule to use Temik starting January 1, 1984."
"Even though it's a toxic product, its performance
is what it said it would be," said Brown, who esti-
mated the ban has cost him more than $1 million.
"I just think it's I can't say a crime but it's
just not fair that the product has been taken from
the citrus grower."
Rule banning Temik application
extended through end of the year
By DAN BERNSTEIN
Tribune Staff Writer
The state Department of Agricul-
ture Monday filed a rule banning the
use of the pesticide Temik through
the end of this year. The action
came a few days after a Florida pes-
ticide applicator dropped his efforts
to strike down the ban.
State Agriculture Commissioner
Doyle Conner filed notice last month
that he intended to extend the ban to
give state scientists more time to
study how the pesticide behaves in
But filing the rule had to be de-
layed until all legal challenges were
resolved, according to Agriculture
Department attorney Frank
That resolution came last week
when Martin County pesticide appli-
cator and citrus farmer Harold
Brown sent a letter to a state hearing
officer asking to withdraw his chal-
lenge to the proposed rule.
Brown had tried unsuccessfully
to strike down the first emergency
ban imposed by Conner in January,
after traces of Temik were found in
an Orange County drinking well.
He said Monday he was abandon-
ing his fight because he did not want
to do anything that might lead citrus
growers to apply Temik until state
officials decide what permanent ac-
The ban, extended to give scientist more time
to study the pesticide's behavior in Florida
soils, exempts potato-growing counties.
tion to take.
"We don't want to cause any
complications that could cause
someone to apply Temik without all
the issues being resolved," he said.
He said that despite actions by
the state Department of Agriculture
to prevent a temporary lapse in the
ban. he believes that such a lapse
would have occurred had he not
dropped his petition.
Brown, who says the ban will
cause him to lose about SI million in
business this year, said he still be-
lieves the ban is not supported by
Graham said that although the
rule filed Monday will not take ef-
fect for another another 20 days.
there will be no lapse because of a
second 90-day emergency rule he
filed recently. Without that rule. he
explained, the first 90-day emer-
gency ban would have expired Mon-
While Graham admitted that
maneuver might not stand up -
state law says only one emergency
rule can be filed per subject he
said that even if it were to be found
unconstitutional, the strategy bought
him the time he needed to keep the
ban in effect.
Temik. which is used primarily
in Florida on citrus crops, has been
found in five drinking wells in the
state, but in none of those cases has
the concentration exceeded federal
The pesticide's manufacturer.
Union Carbide Agricultural Prod-
ucts Co. Inc.. has attributed most of
those findings to faulty wells and has
maintained that Temik poses no
threat to the public.
But state environmental officials
have expressed concern over the
finding of high levels of Temik in
ground water samples up to two
years after it was last applied.
Like the emergency ban now in
effect, the permanent rule filed
Monday would exempt potted plants
and government-approved experi-
ments, according to Graham.
It also would not apply to St.
Johns. Flagler and Putnam counties.
the potato-growing region of the
state that was exempted in Febru-
A right to know, and live
The Florida Legislature is considering a measure that would
require businesses that use, study or produce toxic substances to
inform their workers about the toxic substances they are exposed
to on the job. The proposal is referred to as the "right to know"
bill. "Right to live" might be a better label
Workers are entitled to know the kinds of toxic substances
they deal with and the effects of those substances. Even that kind
of protection is not foolproof because so many new materials that
*are thought initially to be harmless end up being dangerous, even
If workers at least know what risks are involved, some may
choose not to take them. Others, working with management, will
attempt to take precautions that minimize those risks.
Not only would the proposal protect workers, but in the long
run it probably would protect businesses from costly lawsuits by
workers who had been exploited. Full disclosure of toxic
substances also would protect the children of future generations
from illnesses that could affect them just as surely as if they had
been adults handling dangerous materials.
It is impossible to undo the damagethe d hat misinformation, a
lack of information and exploitation have dumped on the
American workplace in the past 50 years or so. There is, however.
every reason to take strong measures now to make sure workers
and management are protected from illness, death and costly
Journal Outdoor Edtor
A call to arms
Today's solunar tables, 28
Johnny Jones of the Florida Wildlife Federa-
tion and Rollie Franzen of the Florida League of
Anglers (FLA) have issued a call to arms in the
movement to transfer responsibility for marine
resources from the Department of Natural
Resources (DNR) to the Florida Game and Fresh
Water Fish Commission.
Such a transfer entails a twofold task for the
leaders of the biggest sportsmens' groups in Flor-
ida and the work begins this week in Tallahassee
when the legislature finally considers bills that
would either start the transfer process or create a
quasi-agency to administer marine resources.
Both the Federation and the FLA, along with
most of the major conservation groups in the
state, are pushing for the transfer and are
fighting the passage of bills that would establish
a Marine Fisheries Commission. Champions of
the bill that would create the new entity include
the DNR, the Florida Audubon Society and com-
mercial fishing lobbyists.
Jones and Franzen want area sportsmen to
back them on the transfer bills by telephoning or
telegraphing members of the Natural Resources
committees in the House of Representatives and
the Senate and encourage them to vote for House
Bill 442 and Senate Bill 551.
Members in the House include chairman Jon
Mills, vice-chairman George Crady, Joe Allen,
James Armstrong, Irio Bronson, T.C. Brown,
Fred Burrall, Spud Clements, Peter Dunbar,
Elaine Gordon, John Grant, Carol Hanson, Gene
Hodges, Doug Jamerson. C.F. Jones, John Lewis,
Ray Liberti, Fred Lippman, Sam Mitchell of
Chipley, Herb Morgan, Tim Murphy, Dale
Patchett, Vernon Peeples, Chuck Smith, Tom
Tobiassen ofPensacola and Eleanor Weinstock.
Senate members are chairman Pat Neal, vice-
chairman Mary Grizzle, Joe Carlucci, Robert
Crawford, George Kirpatrick, Frank Mann, Tom
McPherson, Warren Henderson and Richard
Langley. McPherson authored Senate Bill 693,
which creates the new Commission, and it's
unlikely he or Mann a staunch supporter -
will change their minds.
Transfer idea is better
Although Audubon's position in the debate
seems incongruous, sportsmen may remember
that Audubon has been involved in a long-
standing feud with the Game and Fresh Water
Fish Commission since that agency upheld the
rights of hunters in the Tosahatchee Wildlife
Preserve a few years ago.
There are several reasons why the transfer of
marine resources management to the Florida
Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission is a
better notion than creating a new entity. Because
of its organization, a Marine Resources catch are required to purchase a
Commission would prove to be too unwieldy to $25 annual commercial fishing li-
cope with the day-to-day problems that affect the cense, but nobody can prove that a
marine fishery and its environment. Also. it non-resident is a commercial fisher-
would combine the law enforcement capabilities man unless he tries to sell his catch
of two agencies and place marine resources un- in Florda.
der the protective wing of a constitutionally- He can sell his catch to an Aa-
protected body whose members aren't as
susceptible to political pressure as any under thets to and by Aa a law,
or and Cabnet would be. quired to have only a valid resi-
"We need sportsmen supporting House Bill dent hook-and-line commercial
442 and Senate Bill 551 to call or send telegrams license which sells for 1 per year
or mailgrams as soon as possible to the Repre- or a net license whose cost ranges
sentatives and Senators who will be considering from 5 for a net up to 1.200 feet
this very important legislation," said Jones. long to $20 for a net between 1,800
"Senate Natural Resources is supposed to and3.00( feet long.
'consider the bills this week probably Presume that SB 694 passes. A
Wednesday so we need some fast action."
A committee bill to create a $5 annual W ni Patrol officer than checks a
saltwater fishing license for Florida residents net boat in Santa Rosa Sound
unanimously passed in the Senate Natural bearing Alabama registration. The
Resources Committee last week and will be con- Marine Patrolman asks the
sidered by the full Senate in the near future. fisherman aboard if be is a commer-
SThe bill, SB 755, also would impose a $20 cial fisherman. The man answers
annual license or a 510 2-week trip license for no.
non-residents and a 5500 annual license for oper- The officer leaves, the fisherman
ators of charter boats and headboats. hauls in his nets and fish, drives
The rationale of the sponsors, who are mem. home to Foley or Atmore and sells
*bers of the Committee, is that approximately 517 what he has caught from Florida
million a year in matching funds from the federal waters under the provisions of Ala-
Dingell-Johnson program is lost to Florida bama law.
because it doesn't require saltwater fishing There's nothing that present
Licenses. Florida laws can do about it. That's
why SB 694 is so unfair to
Some licensing makes sense Panhandle commercial fishermen
as to be worthless.
SIf that's so, then some kind of saltwater fishing
license makes sense spending money to make
money. The quarrel now involves the cost of the
licenses and how the additional funds will be
spent. Many sportsmen feel the primary use of
the money they sink into licenses is to create
non-essential jobs within the agencies that are
responsible for administering the funds.
SB 755 isn't the only controversial bill to come
out of Senate Natural Resources. Another, SB
694, would create a license structure for those
who sell saltwater products. Residents would
:pay 525 annually, non-residents would pay 5100
annually and aliens would be charged 5150 per
Charter boat captains facing the prospect of
Shaving to shell out 5500 under the provisions of
'SB 755 already are questioning why commercial
fishermen would only have to pay $25, through
SB 694, to pursue their livelihood for a year.
Commercial fishing lobbyists are quick to
decry a bill unfavorable to their position as being
S"unenforceable," but as yet none have explained
how SB 694 could be applied fairly in Florida's
Consider this: Resident commercial fishermen
'are being told they may have to pay $25 for a
license to sell their catch each year. Already,
they work under a system that requires one party
involved in a transaction must possess a valid
retail license that sells for 510. Most commercial
fishermen, and most recreational fishermen who
sell their catch, usually deal with a fish house
that has such a license.
However, a non-resident who catches fish from
Florida waters and then returns to Alabama to
sell them is under no such restrictions. By pres-
ent Florida law, non-residents who sell their
SToxic waste levels high
Sat empty Coral Way plant
State agency: Definite threat to environment, potential threat to public
Dade County environmental inspectors have found
high levels of toxic wastes dumped at a deserted
wood-treatment plant in Southwest Dade. One chemi-
cal found In topsoil and standing water at the site ex-
ceeded federal safety limits by more than 10.000 times.
The plant, Miami Wood Treating Co.. at SW 70th
Avenue and Coral Way (24th Street), sits within a mile
of residential neighborhoods on three sides. The Coral
Gables Watervay Is less than half a mile to the south.
"There's a definite threat to the environment and
potential threat'to the public," said Thomas Keith, as-
sistant enforcement section head for the Florida De-
partment of Environmental Regulation (DER). Keith is
handling an administrative complaint filed by the agen-
cy against current and former owners of the site.
The complaint was filed after intensive levels of
toxic contaminants Including copper, chrome and
arsenic were found at the 10-acre treatment com-
pound, according to Tony Clemente, director of Dade
County's Depirtment of Environmental Resource Man-
"We feel we have adequate sampling to indicate
that contamination has occurred." Clemente said. "We
took several samples that Indicated the ground in the
area has been saturated (with toxic chemicals)."
Clemente said he is concerned that groundwater
may have been affected by the chemicals. "There's al-
ways the possblilty that they could leach into the
groundwater," he said.
Based on the Metro agency's findings, the state
agency charged in an administrative complaint that the
1HE LEDGER/Friday, April 15. 1983
County wants to be in one water district
Counties want to keep home rule, 4B.
By Tom Palmer
BARTOW If Polk County is going to be In the
water business someday, as many suspect, it may as
well consolidate its jurisdiction now, Commissioner
Jack Simmers told his colleagues Thursday.
They agreed and voted to support a proposal to put
all of Polk County in the Southwest Florida Water
Management District, often called Swiftmud, as a
single water basin.
Currently, the county is included in three water
management districts and six basins.
Simmers' proposal which was not on Thursday's
agenda supports a bill sponsored by Sen. Curtis
Peterson that would allow district and county bounda-
ries to coincide.
"While Polk County has enjoyed improved relations
with all three districts, the county and county resi-
dents experience considerable frustration and inconve-
nience due to differing programs, issues, problem
perception and permitting programs and criteria
among the three districts," Simmers' letter said.
"This proposal really makes so much sense," Sim-
mers said after the meeting, noting that recent studies
have called for better coordination between local
government and the districts. lie said his proposal
Polk County has been involved for the past few
months in talks with other Central Florida counties on
forming a water authority to come up with a plan to
transfer excess water from Inland to coastal regions.
Simmers Implied his proposal would play a part in
protecting Polk's interests under such a plan.
Simmers added that anything done by the proposed
Polk Basin Board which would have no regulatory
authority and all policy decisions would be under
the jurisdiction of Swiftmud's governing board.
'From Swiftmud's point of view, a single Polk basin
could do the job just as well as the four basins," said
Zeb Palmer, the county's hydrologist. Palmer said he
had not discussed the proposal with Swiftmud offi-
Swiftmud spokeswoman Donna Parkin-Welz said
Thursday her agency had no immediate reaction to
There was reaction from the South Florida Water
Management District, however.
"The board's response is that they would like to
keep the boundaries along resource boundaries, in-
stead of political boundaries," said district spokes-
woman Margaret Yansura, who read from a position
paper released after Thursday's board meeting.
Ms. Yansura said Polk's action would probably have
a minimal effect, since none of the bodies of water
whose levels the district regulates are in Polk County.
Nevertheless, Simmers said he feels there will be
financial benefits for Polk taxpayers whose property
is taxed by the districts and some of the basin boards.
Officials in llardee. DeSoto and Charlotte counties
contacted Thursday said they had no immediate reac-
However, environmental activist Ken Morrison did.
While not condemning the proposal, Morrison criti-
cized its surprise introduction.
"That just frosts me," Morrison said. "They don't
put something like this on the agenda and then bring it
up and pass it before the public gets a chance to
S We feel we have
adequate sampling to
occurred. We took
indicated the groundin
the area has been
saturated (with toxic
hazardous waste, said Clemente and
"We bought this property with-
out knowing this situation was in
existence," said Lage. "If you go
and buy a property, nobody knows
Tests conducted on about 25 sam-
ples of soil, standing water and
"sludge-like material" at the plant
had 64,554 parts per million of cop-
per and 53,795 parts per million of
chrome, according to Joe Stillwell,
chief of enforcement for Dade's De-
partment of Environmental Re-
Tests on seven separate soil and
standing water samples ranged
from 784 parts per million of arse-
nic or 156 times the allowable
federal level to as low as seven
parts per million, according to
The maximum concentrations of
chrome and arsenic allowed in sur-
face water is five parts per million,
said EPA spokesman Hagan Thomp-
son. Arsenic is a chemical used in a
compound known as CCA for treat-
ing wood in approximately equal
parts with chrome and copper.
The maximum concentration of
chrome or arsenic allowed in drink-
ing water is .05 parts per million,
according to EPA.
There are no federal limits for
copper in surface water. Though
copper is toxic, Thompson said. it is
not listed as a hazardous waste by
- EPA officials. EPA sets a recom-
mended level of 1 part per million
fn drinking water, according to
EPA spokesman Truman Temple.
Bob McCabe, a chemist with
Toxicology Testing Service Inc., re-
cently helped test the severe under.
ground water pollution from a
now-closed firm In Northwest
Dade. McCabe said the amount of
copper and chrome found at Miami
Wood Testing are "the highest lev-
els I've ever seen."
Last August, Davidson Lumber
contracted for water tests at three
wells at the plant site, according to
John Bogart, a technical representa-
tive for the company. The tests,
conducted by Modern Petroleum
Technology, of Laurel, Miss.,
showed some groundwater contam-
ination, Bogart said from his office
in Mississippi. But the levels of cop-
per, chrome and arsenic were all
below the EPA safety level of five
parts per million, he said.
"rm not at all concerned that the
groundwater is contaminated," Bo-
Robert Levine, an associate pro-
fessor in the University of Miami's
Epidemiolgy department, is in-
volved in research aimed at making
a preliminary assessment of the po-
tential health problems related to
hazardous waste. As part of his re-
search, he studied DERM's research
at Miami Wood Treating.
"Nobody has data on the specific
relationship between this kind of
contamination and human health,"
Levine said. He referred to the 1981
Issue of the Handbook of Toxic and
Hazardous Chemicals by Marshall
Sittig to describe the possible ef-
fects of the chemicals.
Arsenic, arsenic compounds and
some chrome compounds have been
identified as carcinogens, according
to the handbook. Arsenic and
chrome compounds can irritate the
skin and mucous membranes and, if
ingested, they can cause-gastro-in-
testinal problems, the handbook
Copper and copper compounds
can irritate the skin and cause itch-
ing and redness and gastro-intes-
tinal problems and vomiting, the
Attention was focused on Miami
Wood Treating in March 1982
when Tord Walden, a former plant
manager there, wrote to the EPA
after the company closed saying the
firm had not followed EPA regula-
tions In properly disposing of haz-
ardous waste, according to Metro's
In the letter, Walden warned
EPA officials about "a large con-
crete tank below ground which
contains hazardous waste sludge
which has accumulated over a peri-
od of years the amount is consid-
Walden said in an interview that
he managed Miami Wood Treating
for 20 years. He said he didn't think
the chemicals posed any threat to
public health. "I think people are
making a big fuss over nothing." he
said. "You can't have plants there
and weeds and everything if every-
thing was as hazardous as they say.
It'd be a wasteland."
Weeds and trees grow wild
around the tall fence topped with
barbed wire that surrounds the
plant. But photographs taken by
county inspectors reveal a small
wasteland inside the plant. Stillwell
pointed to a white expanse visible
in one of the pictures and said,
"That's not concrete that's the
About a month after Walden
wrote his letter, the EPA wrote Da-
vidson Lumber and said Miami
Wood Treating was not complying
with federal codes and regulations,
according to the DER administra-
tive complaint. The EPA ordered
Davidson Lumber to submit a plan
for dealing with the waste.
The company responded on July
12, and submitted a plan prepared
by the Mississippi testing company,
according to the administrative
But EPA found the plan inade-
quate, and on July 12, 1982, the fed-
eral agency advised state officials
to institute enforcement actions
against the company.
Ralph Farina is taking all of this
Farina is president of Truss Con-
nector Inc., located near the south-
ern edge of the contaminated area
at Miami Wood Testing.
' "It don't surprise me," said Fari-
na, whose company uses well
water. "All the chemicals they use
were dumped in the ground. That's
why we got a sign saying, 'Don't
drink the water.'"
way the chemicals were han-
dled by the plant "resulted in dis-
charges to the ground waters of the
state in concentrations exceeding
water quality criteria."
DER's Keith said the high con-
centrations of toxic chemicals
found in a one-acre test area at the
plant "gives us a reasonable expec-
tation that groundwater has been
contaminated to some leveL"
Rick Fraxedas. Dade County's
chief of hazardous and industrial
materials, said there is no reason to
believe the chemicals pose an im-
mediate threat to public health.
"These are materials we've found in
the ground," he said. "The health
threat would come from stirring it
up and breathing it or putting it in
Fraxedas said the nature of the
chemicals makes the chances of
groundwater contamination less
likely than if other chemicals had
been involved. "These materials do
not travel much in water," he said.
"They're not highly soluble in
water. They're usually absorbed in
But, Fraxedas added, "We want
to see the groundwater" an ele-
ment still awaiting testing.
If the groundwater is contami-
nated, Fraxedas said, itcould pose a
danger to water vells that serve
the industrial complex that includes
the lumber plant and a small resi-
dential area about 2% miles south
and southwest of the plant.
But "most of the area" around
the plant is served by public water,
The plant was opened in the
early 1940s. In 1979. it was leased
by Miami Wood Treating Co., a di-
vision of Davidson Lumber Co.,
from Seaboard Coast Line Railroad
Co. of Jacksonville, said Richard
Pettigrew, an attorney for Stanley
Davidson, the former president of
Miami Wood Treating Co. operat-
ed the plant until it closed on Dec.
11, 1981, according to the state's
In 1980, Stanley Davidson per-
sonally purchased the land from
Seaboard Coast Line Railroad Co. of
Jacksonville which had leased
the land to the plant's operators -
Davidson sold the land to Futura
Realty Incorporated on March 16,
1982. according to county records.
Davidson Timber Co, the parent
firm of Davidson Lumber Co., filed
petitions to liquidate the lumber
company under provisions of the
federal bankruptcy code. Since
then, Davidson Lumber has been
"completely liquidated," according
to William R. Roemelmeyer, trustee
for the firm.
In April 1982, the federal Envi-
ronmental Protection Agency told
Davidson Lumber Co. in a letter
that its subsidiary, Miami Wood
Treating Co., had operated in non-
compliance with federal waste dis-
posal regulations, and then turned
the case over to the state agency for
Last month, the state agency or-
dered Futura Realty and Davidson
Lumber Co. to clean up the contam-
ination and conduct more tests.
Gonzalo Lage, president of Futu-
ra Realty, the current owner of the
site, said the firm will comply with
whatever state and local agencies
ordered. "Whatever the require-
ments are, we will do it," he said.
"We will comply."
On Feb. 2. 1983, the county envi-
ronmental agency sent certified let-
ters to four officers of Davidson
Lumber and to Roemelmeyer, trus-
tee for the firm, ordering them to
clean up toxic wastes at the plant
and to conduct testing to determine
if the chemicals have leached into
Three of the four officers have
appealed the order to the county's
Environmental Quality Control
Board. The appeal is scheduled to be
heard May 10, Fraxedas said. -
Charles Trinoskey, the former
vice president of Davidson Lumber,
and Bernard E Hirsch, former sec-
retary-treasurer, both of whom
were named in the complaint and
have appealed, refused to comment.
Stanley Davidson, who is also ap-
pealing, could not be reached.
Edgar H. Nugent Jr., an officer
who said he left Davison Lumber in
December 1981 and who has not
appealed DERM's order, said, "I
wasn't aware of any hazardous
waste." He said he has been out of
the country much of the time since
he received the order.
Edmund Russo, the attorney rep-
resenting the three officers who are
appealing, would not comment
without being able to inspect this
story prior to publication.
Dade's Clemente said the David-
son officers who are appealing ar-
gued in a letter to him that "they
are not the responsible parties.
They say they don't own it now,
their company went bankrupt. they
sold the land to Futura Realty and
they say they didn't own It that
Clemente said that if private par-
ties don't clean up the site, his agen-
cy will ask that it be added to the
federal Superfund list. So far. 26
toxic.waste dumps in Florida have
been ruled eligible for cleanup
money from the $110 billion federal
Miami Wood Treating Co. had
been using toxic chemicals in-
cluding, chrome, copper and arsenic
- to make termite-resistant lumber
at least since Davidson Lumber
began operating the plant in 1979
and until It closed in 1981, accord-
ing to the state order.
Futura Realty bought the site
without knowing about the contam-
ination, said Futura president Lage.
Future had planned to build a hous-
ing development on the land, Lage
That plan was turned down by
the county's Development Impact
Committee, mostly because of the
- -- --- I ----- L- ~
The Miami News Wednesday. April 13. 1983
Clean up airport fuel spill
Attempts to determine the magnitude of a major spill
involving thousands of gallons of jet fuel at Miami International
Airport are unnecessary, says the Metro Aviation Department.
Besides, the work would disrupt normal airport operations.
But if the spill spreads, as Metro environmental officials fear
it might, and contaminates the wellfield in Miami Springs, normal c
living patterns for tens of thousands of Dade residents would be a
disrupted seriously. It doesn't take much common sense to i
realize that business as usual won't work when a public health
hazard is discovered.
The spill, latest in a series of environmental disasters at the
airport, was discovered last February. The county's Department
of Environmental Resources Management wants the Aviation
Department to install inspection wells to ascertain the size of the
spill and then clean it up.
Yet, with a nonchalance to rival Nero's. Aviation Department
officials fiddle and say, "We are satisfied with removing it when
we open up new trenches." What does that attitude say about a
department that wants to build an even larger jetport in the even
more environmentally sensitive area of the Everglades?
A new trench, of course, was what revealed the existence of
the current spill. A DERM inspector noticed that a trench dug by
a construction company was filled with oil, which obviously
didn't result from a nearby gusher. More than 2,000 gallons were
pumped out of the trench.
The Aviation Department also contends there "is no
indication (the spill) is a hazard to (the wellfield)," which is an
arrogant extension of its expertise. But according to DERM's Bill
Brant "there has been no work done by the Aviation Department
to see how much it has spread." Besides, once there is evidence
that a wellfield is being contaminated, it's too late. Goodby,
It should not be necessary, as DERM Director Tony Clemente
observed, "for the community's drinking water to be
contaminated to get the Aviation Department to clean up...."
There is ample evidence that pollutants dumped or spilled do
indeed seep through into the aquifer, but it remains the Aviation
Department's job to prove the fuel is not spreading not contend
there is no evidence that it is not spreading. Obviously there can
be no evidence if the department has conducted no tests.
The county's Pollution Control Code clearly requires the
Aviation Department to determine the size of spills and clean
them up. There are no county ordinances requiring the
department to hedge or stall or provide excuses for not doing its
job. So if necessary, County Manager Merrett Stierheim and the
county commission should arbitrate this dispute and rule in favor
of DERM and the public health.
Airport jet spills are largely the result of rusting and leaking
underground pipes, which the Aviation Department fortunately is
replacing. But a lot of damage has been done, and now it must be
Dumping The Fight For A
ORMOND REACI CITY OFFICIALS should reconsider their
decision to fight the Department of Environmental Regulation's
(DER) denial of a permit for continued operation of the city's
controversial landfill. While such a battle might temporarily
save the city additional costs of disposing of garbage elsewhere,
it wouldn't serve the public interest.
DER decided earlier this month to deny the permit because
the landfill operation hasn't been in compliance with state rules
and because there's no reasonable assurance the situation will
change. In an eight month Investigation, it found that the 34 acre
landfill was contaminating groundwater in the shallow aquifer,
producing noxious odors and potentially dangerous gases, and
creating an eyesore because it Isn't adequately screened from
In addition to potentially serious environmental and health
threats cited by DER, the landfill off N. Nova Road has a long
history of rules violations. These include insufficiently covered
garbage, and inadequate manpower and equipment to operate
the dump properly.
The dangers generated by such shortcomings were under-
scored Just this week by County Environmental Control Officer
Barry Appleby, who notified DER that he found what appeared
to be infectious medical wastes in the landfill, In violation of
state law, and that the garbage he observed wasn't buried with
the required amount of cover. Appleby's findings lend credence
to DER's concern that violations would continue at the landfill If
the permit had been granted.
ORMOND OFFICIALS BASE their appeal of DER's permit
denial on flimsy arguments. They say that a plastic liner the
state agency required under the landfill was supposed to have
stopped groundwater pollution problems, charge that a gas
venting system required last summer by DER is the main
source of odor problems, and cite a DER staff report from last
August concluding the site Is adequately screened from public
But residents of the Trails subdivision next to the landfill have
been complaining about and living with foul odors (and
Inadequate landfill screening and excessive numbers of ro-
dents) for nearly two years. Furthermore, apparent failure of
the plastic liner to prevent groundwater pollution doesn't ab-
solve the city from responsibility for that potentially serious
DAYTONA BEACH EVENING NEWS Thurday, Aprll 14, IM3
The underlying reason for the appeal appears to be money.
City Manager John Lccmkuil has argued that to correct landfill
problems last year, the city spent "a fortune," or $32,000 more
than the $232,000 budgeted for landfill operations. City staffers
have prepared a report estimating that it could cost the city
more than $118,000 If the landfill were closed this August Instead
of in May 1984, the envisioned closing date.
WEIGHED AGAINST TIE city's fiscal arguments are the
facts that an appeal of the DER ruling would cost $10,000 or
more with no guarantee of success, that landfill problems which
apparently are continuing could require still more additional
expenditures of city funds, that the landfill which opened in 1969
is at the end of its lifespan no matter what happens, and that
costs of converting to another waste disposal facility are inevi-
There's no way to assign costs or dollar values to the miseries
the landfill is causing Trails residents, but it seems their con-
cerns deserve far more consideration from the city than they
appear to be receiving.
So, too, do the concerns of all area residents sharing in
statewide alarm about potential economic and environmental
disasters posed by groundwater contamination threats. Because
of such concerns, the Florida Legislature has made control or
-elimination of groundwater pollution a top priority this year.
- Ormond officials appear to overlook the fact that there's no
guarantee that landfill pollutants reaching the shallow aquifer
won't find their way into the deep Floridan Aquifer that pro-
vides this county's drinking water, even though an expert hired
by the city says there's little chance that will happen. The best
way to minimize that little chance Is to stop using the landfill.
Instead of waging a costly and potentially futile fight against
DER to keep the city landfill open a few extri months, Ormond
Beach officials would be wise to bow to the findings of the
;respected state environmental agency and concentrate their
'efforts and funds on developing a new, safe means of disposing
of the 160 tons of refuse the city collects each day.
THE LEDGER/Frlday. April 15, 1983
Local governments tell state
to stay out of land use plans
By Avie Schneider
Ledor Ilaolk o kaeou
TALLAIIASSEE Local government representa-
tives Thursday blasted a legislative proposal to re-
quire state approval of local land-use plans.
They said it would destroy their powers to control
Rep. Fred Jones, D-Auburndale, a member of the
House Select Committee on Growth Management,
agreed with the county and municipal government
lobbyists' concerns and predicted the proposal would
And, in related action, Chairman Ray Liberti, D-
West Palm Beach, announced the panel would not
consider redrawing the boundaries of water manage-
ment districts to follow county lines. Staffers said that
reorganization might be taken up next year, but a
similar measure which would mean Polk falling
into one water management district instead of the
current three Is still alive in the Senate.
The committee, formed by House Speaker Lee Mof-'
fitt, D-Tampa, is looking at ways to plan for Florida's
Under the committee's proposal, the state would
have to approve local comprehensive land-use plans
before their adoption. As the bill is worded, the water
management districts would replace the regional
planning councils as planning agencies, but that may
change when the committee meets again Monday.
Another element of the proposal calls for the adop-
tion of a state land development plan.
Cities and counties now are required to adopt plans,
which are reviewed by the regional planning councils
and the state Department of Community Affairs, but
there is no requirement that they be subject to ap-
proval by the state.
"You're talking about getting into local govern-
ment's power to zone." Jim Wolf of the Florida
Ieaue of Cities told the House panel.
"I certainly don't think we need a czar in the Secre-
tary of Community Affairs' Office that has to sign off
on these plans," Jones said.
Local governments could appeal the water manage-
ment districts' decisions to the Department of Com-
munity Affairs and the governor and Cabinet. But,
Wolf said. that would mean the state is "no longer
overseeing. You're talking about dictating."
"Who is to say that a person sitting in Tallahassee is
a better determinant of what local zoning should be?"
But Charles Lee of the Florida Audubon Society said
the governor and Cabinet "are an elected body" and
should have approval at least over coastal zones
and other environmentally sensitive areas.
Bill Roberts of the State Association of County
Commissioners said his group opposes the measure
because it reverses the 1975 Local Comprehensive
Planning Act, which he said dictates that the state
"should not have veto over local plans."
"The effect of this (the proposal) is to destroy home
rule, which has taken major steps to bring local gov-
ernment closer to the people," Roberts said..
Contacted later, Polk County Planning Director
Merle Bishop said the proposal sounds to him like
."'the state taking away local government's power to
determine our land-use and our own zoning."
As for a state master plan, Bishop said he fears that
may make growth decisions more political.
"You would have people vying for growth," he said.
"They would say, 'We want our county to grow so
don't let our neighbor grow.' Now each county deter-
mines its own growth plan."
Bishop said he also opposes shifting regional plan-
ning from the planning councils to the water manage-
Because the territories covered by water manage-
ment districts are much larger than those within coun-
cil boundaries, "our representation in such a planning
agency would be much diluted," Bishop said.
Jim Duane, executive director of the Central Flori-
da Regional Planning councill, which includes I'olk,
Iw r -
Rep. C. Fred Jones. DAubumdole, says landuse
plan proposal wll be changed.
said his agency also would be against the state assum-
ing local developmental powers.
The bill would be funded from an increase in docu-
mentary stamp taxes on deeds. The proposed increase,
from 45 to 55 cents per $100, would generate about
$24 million, staff director George Meier said.
But Harry Landrum of the Florida Association of
Realtors said "everybody should enjoy that pleasure,
not Just those who own property." lie called for an
alternate funding source.
The committee also is considering expanding the
ability of counties to use money from voter-approved
tourist taxes for beach acquisition and improvement.
But Jones said if that is done, he thinks it should
further he expanded to include "any other use," such
as local government services police, ambulance
and fire protection. "Tourists need those, too," he said
THE LEDGER/Soturday, April 16, 1983
No water, no growth
James Martin wanted a simple thing the
quadrupling of his 10-acre borrow pit in Hillsbo-
Hey, exclaimed adjacent Pinellas County.
Borrow pits tend to become dumping grounds,
spreading dangerous pollution. And that site is
within 250 feet of Pinellas' water farm. Besides,
Martin has been cited for illegal dumping. The
health threat to 750,000 persons in Pinellas Coun-
ty is obvious enough. Don't do it
OK, said the Hillsborough County Commis-
sion. Forget it.
Meanwhile, the borrow-pit's Martin had been
boasting about his political clout with the Hil-
Isborough Commission. The commission was in
"his hip pocket," he told neighbor James C. Pear-
Apparently. A week after turning down the
borrow pit. the five-member Hillsborough Com-
mission revived the petition and approved it. This
was made possible by switched votes of two
commissioners, Jerry Bowmer and Joe Kotvas,
who joined two others, including Fred Anderson.
You can forget those names, because they're
not important any more. Those fellows were
suspended from office after indictment for ex-
torting money from a developer in an unrelated
case. Details thus far surfaced indicate the prac-
tice was gross and systematic.
Corruption heightens the interest in this dis-
pute and it does point up the fact, as the comic
Mr. Dooley once put it, that "politics ain't bean-
bag." It has to be taken seriously in a burgeoning
state. All over Florida, entire fortunes ride on
strokes of the rezoning pen.
But even without the scandal, the Hillsbo-
rough borrow pit shapes up as a classic water
rights shootout. Pinellas County has so over-
grown and so abused its own water supply that it
has none left. It pipes in water from elsewhere.
So a corruptive, political or judgmental decision
by aloof and disinterested officials is fully capa-
ble of poisoning the water supply of 750,000 resi-
dents of Pinellas County.
Closer to home is Pasco County, whose No. 1
industry is growth. Because of a developing sce-
nario concerning water, again, Pasco growth
may come to a skidding halt.
Yielding to growth pressure, Pasco officials
permitted land developers to run amuck. Pasco
had no zoning until 1976 and no long-range plan-
ning until 1982. Along with such laxness came
the proliferation of private water and sewer sys-
tems put in place by developers.
In 1979, Pasco tried to get its utility act
together. It scrounged up $48 million to buy out
the private systems. This was a very nice deal
for developers, who not only profited from their
home sales, but (1) collected up-front utility
impact fees from homebuyers. (2) wrote hand-
pome utility depreciation off their taxes, and then
(3) collected $48 million from the county's
But for Pasco citizens, it has been a disaster.
The buy-out formula has been ridiculed by a
judge as a fantasy comparable to "if a frog had7
wings." Because the utilities were so overpriced,
and despite rate increases, the county has lost
money every year including $1.9 million in
1982. And former County Commission Chairman
Barry M. Doyle is serving three years in the
slammer for accepting bribes from developer
who was unloading a private utility.
Now the final insult. Three of the wastewater
plants simply don't work. They only seemed to
work because their previous developer-owners
had secret underground pipelines to dump waste-
water in lakes, canals and rivers. Officials are
exploring the possibility of criminal fraud.
But with its water supply threatened. Pasco
is seeking a building moratorium which. as
immediate effect, will halt a $71-million, 1.574-
These horror stories suggest that Florida. on
the. state level, must do something to ensure
water quality not only for the health of cur-
rent residents, but so growth itself can take
place. That is substantially the aim of a water
protection package largely developed by State
Rep. Jon Mills, D-Gainesville, under mandate of
House Speaker Lee Moffitt.
The package seeks to tax and control hazard-
ous waste, avert pesticide abuse, finance sewage
plant improvements, and end the ridiculous over-
use of septic tanks that threaten pollution of
groundwater used by 92 percent of Florida's
Nothing could be better designed to protect
Florida's home building industry, because nobody
will settle in a tainted land. Yet, who should
emerge as Ugly Floridians opposing water purity
but the Florida Home Builders Association. rep-
resented in this case by lobbyist Stephen Metz.
He called this modest effort at water purity
"very arbitrary" and "drastic."
This isn't the first time the Home Builders
Association slogged through manure to pick a
quickie bouquet of bucks. But it is the most
senseless, and it merits profound disdain by the
As for the home builders. may their next
banquet's ice cubes come from Pasco County.
Fort Myers News-Press, Thursday. April 14, 1983
Controversial septic tank
measure gets first reading
By KELLY TOUGHILL the homesites in Cape Coral would
Neww-Pr StaffWrtr be useless for building without a
state-approved exemption, or unless
TALLAHASSEE A controver- the owner bought adjoining lots.
sial septic tank bill that could slash House leaders predicted Tuesday
densities throughout Southwest Flor- that builders would push for an ex-
Ida got its first hearing in the Senate emption to the bill for all lots platted
on Wednesday in front of a three- before 1972.
member subcommittee that includes Although Mann refused to commit
two Southwest Florida legislators himself on thespecfics of the bill, he
Sea. Frank Mann, D-Fort Myers, said current law which allows up
and Sen. Bob Crawford, a Democrat to 16 septic tanks an acre should
from Winter Haven whose district be tightened and that he would not
includes Glades and Hendry Coun- support an amendment exempting
ties, admitted the bill could have a older lots from the bill.
major impact on the region but And if the bill "gets watered down
refusedto predictftheywouldtryto Into milk toast." he vowed to try to
change the bill. tighten t up.
"Sure it will have a major impact The bill as approved by a house
on Southwest Florida," Mann said. committee Tuesday would allow two
"But I hear half a dozen bills a year septic tanksan acre in areas without
that would have a major impact. An central water system.
many of them pass." In areas with a central water sys-
According to the proposed septic tern, four tanks an acre would be
tank restrictions, about 80 percent of allowed.
It also requires homeowners with
septic tanks to hook up to a sewer
system as it becomes available.
According to Steve Metz, a lawyer
for the Florida Home Builders Aso-
ciation, the bill will probably pass
the House as it reads but might be
amended In the Senate.
Crawford sid he was lesoa g
toward the House recommendation
but needed more information before
he could vote on the issue.
Sea George Kirkpatrik. D-
Gainesvlle, who chairs the subcom-
mittee, said, Tis may preclude
thousands of people in Florida from
ever building a home. rm very con-
cerned about that."
Mann said that despite the local
outcry the bill has caused, including
resolutions from the Cape Coral Cty
Council and the Charlotte County
Commission, the proposed lawwould
not stunt growth in the region.
Lawmakers To Tackle Beach And Barrier
By EL GEORGE
Tallahassee Bureau Chief
TALLAHASSEE Water protection, fisheries management.
hazardous waste and all the other environmental Issues
weren't enough the 1983 Legislature will take on beach and
barrier Island protection issues this year.
Thursday a House committee will introduce a package of
bills designed to protect barrier islands from overbuilding,
toughen the state's coastal construction control line, create
statewide planning standards for coastal communities, and
allow grants to those communities so they can do the planning.
"These measures are stringent, but they have to be. They
are badly needed." said Rep. Ray Libert, D-West Palm Beach.
"A lot of people are going to be kicking and screaming, but
we have to take these steps to protect what little coast we
have left. Otherwise it will be gone." he said. Liberti is
chairman of the House Select Committee on Growth Manage-
ment. He said the proposals are not unreasonable, and that
they are designed to "prevent overbuilding on sensitive and
vital barrier islands."
"Nature put those Islands and dunes there for a reason. They
protect us all from storms and floods. When someone cuts
down the dune, It costs everyone of us in the long run," he said.
* He said the coastal barrier protection act would be contro-
versial, but added that many parts had been drafted in a spirit
of compromise between environmentalist and coastal devel-
Another bill would expand the so-called tourist development
tax (levied by referendum in some counties on hotel beds and
other tourist-related goods and service) so that local govern-
ments could use that source to finance beach acquisition,
improvement, maintenance, restoration, erosion control, and
purchase of public accessways to beaches.
The House Growth Management Committee will consider
those and other bills at its meeting on Thursday. Several of the
bills were approved at various levels during last year's
session, but never made It to final passage.
The major bill is the "Coastal Barrier Protection Act."
better known as the barrier Islands bill. Florida has more
barrier Island acreage than any state nl the nation, yet has no.
coordinated means of guarding against rapid, poorly planned
development, that can endanger lives and property on the
event of hurricanes.
All taxpayers suffer from such natural disasters because
state and federal funds are used to rebuild the public facilities
and private property afterward.
The bill was proposed last year, but a small army of land
lcrald-Tribune Wed., April 13, 1983
They say the bill would prevent them from building on and
developing their land holdings on Florida's 33 or so barrier.
islands and especially In the so-called "undeveloped" regions
of those Islands. The federal government Is moving in the
same direction by proposing to remove federal flood insurance
from those areas.
This year's bill will not be quite as controversial, some of
the restrictions that angered property owners and developers
have been taken out.
For example a requirement that all utilities be Installed
underground was removed. Last year developers complained
that the costs are high and that flooding and tidal action can
damage underground electrical Installations.
Last year's proposal would have banned all development in,
wetlands or mangrove areas of barrier islands. The new bill,
will have nothing like that In it.
Local governments will have to amend their building codes
by December 1983 to include minimum state standards de-
signed to withstand the most severe storm likely to occur in a
The state will review those local government standards to
make sure they are sufficient. And the state could deny a
permit or fine a landowner found In violation, even If the local
government approved the offending project.
As a public safety precaution, the bill would prohibit new
construction In areas where evacuation of all residents might
take more than 12 hours.
The state would also develop barrier Island maps and keep
them updated with land use designations.
Areas designated "undeveloped" would have some special
restrictions. For example, no state funds could be expended
for water, sewers, roads or bridges to those areas.
That idea has already been taken to heart by Gov. Bob
Graham. As a supplement to his "Save Our Coasts" beach-
buying plan. Graham issued as order to all executive branch
agencies: His order Instructed them to stop the state from
building bridges or otherwise subsidizing growth on barrier
The growth management committee will also propose that
local government comprehensive plans, in coastal counties
and cities, protect beach dunes and barrier islands.
Graham In his message to the Legislature said the bill is
needed to "assure a maximum degree of protection to the
value of coastal resources and adequately protect people,
safety and property."
The bill would order the state Department of Community
Affairs to develop minimum statewide criteria protecting
coastal zones. Local plans would have to have at least those
The proposal will als6 allocate 2.1 million to Community
Affairs to implement the act and to send grants to local
governments to help them develop their coastal elements.
In his message to the Legislature, Oraham endorsed the
"Florida's beautiful coastline has become synonymous with
our state. Our Gulf and ocean fronts are magnets attracting
people and development. Unfortunately, some of this develop-
ment has taken place In a manner that harms the scenic values
of the area, accelerates beach erosion and results In people
residing in areas that are subject to storms and hurricanes
jeopardizing their safety and property."
The committee earlier this week passed out a bil tightening
up the coastal construction control line law. Such lines are set
In all counties based on the most severe storm likely to occur
Ina 100-year cycle. .
Rep. Bob Johnson, R-Sarasota, the only are legislator on
the Growth Management Committee, voted for the bill. It
would require developers to plan for public accessways when
constructing buildings, seawalls or other erosion-control device
es. It also would allow local governments to take over
permitting of small structures such as dune walkovers.
And the bill would allow for the cumulative Impacts of
construction to be consldrd by the state when permitting
construction in the coastal zone.
Another section of the bill would expand the law to protect
the landward half of the dune In breaks where Important sand
dune systems eist. State officials said the current law only
allows protection of the seaward half of the dune. In other
words, a builder can come in-and remove the back side of the
dune and locate the building there.
This would have the most Impact ln the Jacksonville and
Florida Panhandle areas where 10-foot dunes are not uncom-
Sarasota Ilerald-Tribune Wed., April 13,1983
Water Quality Act Passes Key Test In House
By ED GEORGE
Tallahassee Bureau Chief
TALLAHASSEE A package of bills designed to
protect Florida's vast groundwater resources from
a host of pollution threats passed its first key test in
the House of Representatives Tuesday.
The "Water Quality Assurance Act of 1983" has a
long way to go, and needs $120 to $140 million over
the next two years. About $100 million of that
would be for state sewage treatment construction
grants to communities.
But even without the funding, the plan is "in
general a very excellent package of legislation"
said former state Rep. Bill Sadowski, D-Miaml.
Sadowski was chairman of the House Speaker's
Task Force on Water that proposed the legislation.
With environwpentallst Nat Reed on hand, the
House Natural Resources Committee spent nearly
four hours making changes to the proposals.
S"We don't have much time left," to protect
Florida's water, said Reed, a former environmental
adviser.to anvernors and residents.
The final product passed the committee 18-4.
Rep. Vernon Peeples. D-Punta Gorda, voted for the
The plan gives the Department of Environmental
Regulation (DER) new duties, powers and employ-
ees to better protect groundwater resources.
In general It tightens state control over such
pollution sources as hazardous wastes, sewage,
Industrial wastes, pesticides and discharges from
The package also:
Sets up a systematic, comprehensive statewide
groundwater monitoring network and data collec-
Creates a pesticide review commission of ex-
perts to examine all the thousands of agricultural
chemicals used in the state and determine their
Impact on groundwater In light of Florida's unique
Allows appeal to the cabinet if the commission-
er of agriculture Ignores or rejects the recommen-
datinsm of theo rwoiid ernmmlsqion.
Requires the DER to continually study saltwa-
ter Intrusion and other groundwater contamination
and report annually.
Requires water management districts to un-
dertake efforts to plug abandoned artesian wells
that have water quality poor enough to adversely
Limits septic tank Installation. Currently up to
16 tanks can be permitted on sa acre. The bill
would allow as few as two (if private wells serve
the dwellings) or as many as four (where municipal
supplies are available). A daily flow formula can
also be used. Also, drainflelds would have to be 75
feet from surface waters. The law now has a -foot
Regulates smaller generators of hazardous
waste, taxes bulk chemicals coming Into the state,
and grants funds so local governments can search
for local hazardous waste generators.
Increases the fine for violations of the hazard-
ous waste laws from $2S,000 per day to $100,000
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