Sprayfield Legal Action

There is now legal action pending against Tallahassee's southeast sprayfield. It comes from several groups concerned about the environmental impact of the treated wastewater disposal plant.

Three petitions were filed by the noon deadline on an extension filed by Wakulla County one month ago. Filing are the Wakulla County Board of Commissioners, the Florida Wildlife Federation and a Panacea man.

Wakulla commissioners say they didn't want to have to take the legal route, but were left with no other options because a compromise with the City of Tallahassee could not be reached.

Negotiations on Tallahassee's southeast sprayfield came to halt, ending Friday in legal action. Wakulla County commissioners say the decision to file their appeal was based on the city's failure to meet a higher level of treatment and nitrogen removal.

While they appreciate the efforts the city has put forward, commissioners say more has to be done.

Jim English, City Attorney for Tallahassee, says, "It's really unfortunate because what it means is the 100 million we've committed to making substantial improvements in reducing nitrogen by 25 percent, getting rid of bio solids are frankly going to be delayed."

It's going to cost taxpayer dollars. English says litigation will cost the city at least $200,000. It will cost those filing against the city as well, but the Florida Wildlife Federation says the expense will be worth it.

Manley Fuller, President of the Florida Wildlife Federation, says, "We'd like the city and DEP to got back and get the provisions and get the city to provide reasonable assurances and work with the city to come out with a much stronger permit."

An administrative hearing will follow. All sides agree on one thing; they want to do what they can to protect the springs. Now they have to find common ground. City attorney Jim English says the city has at least 20 days to respond to the petitions.