Wallis Mahute

Gulf Breeze News – October 08, 2020

Wallis Mahute of Milton, Wellfield Protection Area Ordinance Coordinator, is asking people to please email both the county Planning and Zoning Director and the county commissioners before today’s (Thursday, Oct. 8) county commission meeting and tonight’s zoning meeting to protest change in the wellfield protection for 51 percent of the county’s public drinking wells.

Mahute was the driving force behind getting a grant several years ago that led to the county’s wellfield protection ordinance and she posted this week on her Facebook page, “The Wellfield Protection Area Ordinance was established to protect aquifers which are the source of 51% of Santa Rosa County’s public drink water wells, Holley, Navarre, Midway, Gulf Breeze and East Milton Water. It is located at Blackwater River to the North, Yellow River to the South, the county line to the East and Persimmon Hollow Road in East Milton to the West.

“The protection of the aquifers was a grassroots effort spearheaded by just a few concerned citizens. The protection of the area was needed because landfills were trying to locate operations on top of the pristine aquifers. When approached to do a study to include East Milton Public Drinking water well/aquifers, our commissioners told our group that there was no evidence that the East Milton area should be protected. Our group found an Environmental Justice Grant, applied and once approved, our group partnered with the county as the required 501c3.

“Landfills of all types are a great threat to pollution of groundwater. Our protection area (WPA) no longer allowed landfills of any type in the protected area.”

Now the Planning and Zoning Director Shawn Ward is scheduled to make a presentation Thursday night asking that the county’s codes be changed to allow natural resources to be pulled from those wellfield areas.

Mahute explains, “There is an effort in progress to change our protection area to once again allow Land Clearing Debris pits (resource extraction of red clay and filling that empty crater with land clearing debris). Land Clearing debris pits are only inspected once a year. In my opinion, other items, other than land clearing debris, may make their way into these pits.”

Mahute is asking that anyone concerned attend the 6 p.m. zoning meeting in Milton at the county commission meeting auditorium, or at least email. The email for Shawn Ward is: [email protected] and the email for the county commissioners is: [email protected]

By Pam Brannon
Gulf Breeze News (C) 2020
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