There have been many concerns over the past several years over wastewater discharge into Taylor County's Fenholloway River from the Buckeye Paper Mill.
James "Buster" Durden, a Perry resident, says, "Fish and other reptiles couldn't survive in it because of the acid and stuff that was dumped in the river. Buckeye has done a tremendous job in cleaning all that up."
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection issued a draft permit for Buckeye to construct a pipeline to restore the river. The 15-mile pipeline will relocate the mill's discharge to the Gulf of Mexico.
Michele Curtis, wood supply manager, says, "Our plant has made significant improvements over time. We've reduced color in our treated wastewater by half. As a result, sea grass is making a comeback in the Gulf.”
In addition to restoring the Fenholloway River to fishable, swimmable standards, the draft permit requires several operational changes within the mill.
A spokesperson for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection says DEP will accept public comments until October 6. On December 2, the department will give Buckeye a letter of intent to issue a permit or a letter of intent to deny.
A public hearing on this issue will be held at 5 p.m. Thursday, September 29 at the Taylor County Middle School.