Broward residents outraged at prospective waste management plans

(WSVN) - Some Broward County residents are fighting plans for a new waste water treatment well. 7’s Alex de Armas has more on residents’ toxic concerns in this 7News Investigation.

We make mountains of trash … literally. This is Monarch Hill, a 500-acre trash dump in Pompano Beach.

Like all landfills, what goes in, comes out.

Beam Furr, Broward County Commissioner: “You know there’s toxic metals in there. Rainwater pours down on the landfill. Anything that’s in there gets leached out.”

The runoff is called leachate. And to make sure it doesn’t contaminate our drinking water, it’s piped to a Broward County treatment facility where it’s cleaned and put into a deep injection well, which pumps the leachate thousands of feet underground into porous rock.

Beam Furr: “We take that and send it down into the ground, down into the boulder zone.”

But now Waste Management, which runs Monarch Hill, wants to build its own deep injection well and put untreated leachate in it.

Dawn McCormick, Waste Management: “There’s multiple deep injection wells throughout the state that take leachate and directly deposit it into a well without treating it. It’s safe, sound proven technology.”

Neighbors are outraged at the idea.

Karen Caputo, Friends of Hollywood: “Everything about this plan is negative.”

Karen Caputo is president of a Broward Community group called Friends of Hollywood and she is opposed to the plan.

Karen Caputo: “We don’t feel that private industry is going to be as concerned. They’ll be making a profit.”

But even more concerning for neighbors — the permit would also give waste management the option to bring in third party liquid waste.

Beam Furr: “If you start sending millions of gallons of leachate from other counties, or from other states, we don’t know the source and we don’t know what would be in that leachate.”

The permit would allow Waste Management to bring in 300,000 gallons daily by truck, eventually increasing that amount to 780,000 gallons a day.

Broward County resident: “I’m here because I have to tell the commissioners and the Waste Management that I don’t trust them.”

It was a packed house at a recent meeting for concerned Broward residents.

There are 35 other deep-injection wells operating in Broward County. Waste Management says Monarch Hill’s well would be nothing new.

Dawn McCormick: “We’re making sound, reasoned decisions based on proven science.”

Broward County disagrees, and is asking the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to say no.

Beam Furr: “This is government’s job, to take care of the health of the citizens. That’s why we treat the garbage. That’s why we treat the water. I think it’s better that these kind of things are in government’s hands.”

Whether or not waste management will get the nod on the well permit remains to be seen. The decision from the state is expected in the coming weeks.

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