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Friday, Mar 27, 2015

Hernando shelves proposed water treatment plant


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BROOKSVILLE - Dozens of residents Tuesday packed county commission chambers to protest the building of a well field and water treatment plant close to Sherman Hills subdivision.

But they never got the chance to express their outrage.

After taking a five-minute break, commissioners reconvened and told the crowd it will not move forward with the project and instead will look for other property in the area. The residents broke out in cheers and applause.

Environmental Services staffers said a new well field and water treatment plant is needed near Ridge Manor to prepare for future growth and improve existing services for homeowners on the east side.

Residents called it an encroachment on their lives and urged commissioners to look elsewhere.

The proposed plant would have been located on a 17.6-acre parcel near State Road 50 and Sherman Hills Boulevard and would have required spending $470,000 to purchase the property from a private owner.

But that idea is off the table.

County Commissioner Diane Rowden said it didn't make sense for residents to speak at the meeting and "get all riled up" for no reason because the discussion leading up to the action showed there was no majority support for the proposed project.

Commissioner Nick Nicholson objected to the high cost of buying the land and said it would make more sense to look for property farther away from residences.

The east side is served by many smaller water systems, which were adequate when there were fewer communities, said Environmental Services Director Susan Goebel-Canning

But the area has grown and all those smaller systems are now interconnected and the potential is there for problems with water pressure and storage, she said.

Residents have said the plant will be an eyesore that could affect property values. They said it would be noisy and increased water pumping could create sinkholes in an area already prone to them.

They also worried about chemicals used at the on-site storage tanks.

(352) 544-5290

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