Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Residents oppose northeast Pasco sewer plant idea

DADE CITY — A public meeting on a proposed wastewater treatment plant in northeast Pasco devolved into raucous shouting Tuesday evening, with residents angrily opposing any intrusion in their agricultural lifestyle.

Bruce Kennedy, the assistant county administrator over utilities, was just two minutes into his presentation on the sewer plant when a protester interrupted, refusing to be "brainwashed."

Then the floodgates opened.

"We drink the water and we don't want it," became the recurring chant among residents concerned about treated wastewater percolating back into the groundwater table.

The meeting drew about 200 residents to the historic courthouse in Dade City. Some were particularly emotional about the county working on the plans without first checking with residents.

"We had to learn about this from the surveyors," one local cattleman said.

The proposal is for a new wastewater treatment plant at the southeast corner of Christian and Powerline roads. It would replace a small package plant at a public housing complex in Lacoochee, and provide additional capacity to draw businesses to the U.S. 301 corridor.

"The idea is to stimulate growth," Kennedy said. "We need this robust system and infrastructure to show future employers and light industrial developers our potential for growth."

The Northeast Subregional Wastewater Treatment Plant would start at about 300,000 gallons a day and could eventually process 600,000 gallons — which still makes it a small facility. The average plant processes 2 million to 3 million gallons a day, Kennedy said.

The plant would sit on 10 acres surrounded by some 260 acres owned by the county. Kennedy said the site is ideal because it's heavily wooded and has room for a 600-foot buffer around the plant.

"You're not even going to see the plant," he told the Times. "Unless somebody told you it was there, you're not going to know it's there."

That idea was little comfort to residents who feared the plant could lower their property values, create noise and contaminate the groundwater. The property owners in the area depend on their own wells and septic systems and called for relocating the plant to an area with city water.

"You can stand there all night," one resident yelled at Kennedy. "We want to know, where's your boss? He needs to be the one getting his tail chewed off."

Plans to develop the site have drawn intense opposition in the past. Back in 2006, residents fought a developer's plan for 85 upscale homes on the 342-acre tract, then called Trilby Estates. They argued that was too many houses for the rural area.

Although that plan received the county's blessing, the developer later backed out, and the county bought much of the land.

Neighbors at Tuesday's meeting weren't opposed to any use of the property. But why not a park or cultural center, they asked.

The three-hour meeting ended in a stalemate, with frustration among residents and county officials alike. Ultimately, the County Commission will decide whether to proceed with the sewage plant.

Commissioner Ted Schrader, who was unable to attend the meeting, spent Wednesday answering e-mails from concerned residents.

"It certainly didn't go as expected," said Schrader, whose district covers east Pasco. "We were prepared to answer all of their concerns but apparently it got out of control. ... I will schedule another meeting with better communications and try to address these issues in a civil manner."

Times staff writer Lee Logan contributed to this report.

Residents oppose northeast Pasco sewer plant idea 09/14/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, September 14, 2011 8:16pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Florida education news: Budgets, discipline, charter schools and more

    Blogs

    BUDGETING: Florida school district officials keep a close eye on their spending plans as they await word on the Legislature's budget. Gov. Rick Scott

  2. Forecast: Return of summertime pattern means afternoon storms on tap for Tampa Bay

    Weather

    As if Memorial Day wasn't enough of a signal that summer truly is upon us, this week's forecast across the Tampa Bay area will be a stark reminder.

    Tampa Bay's 7-day forecast. [WTSP]
  3. Tiger Woods says medication, not alcohol, led to DUI arrest in Florida

    Public Safety

    Players arriving for a tournament this week at Muirfield Village might notice a framed picture of Tiger Woods with a resplendent smile and bright red shirt. He's posed there with the trophy, an image that embodies the excitement he once brought to golf.

    This image provided by the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office on Monday, May 29, 2017, shows Tiger Woods. Police in Florida say Tiger Woods was been arrested for DUI.  [Palm Beach County Sheriff's office via AP]
  4. Manuel Noriega, Panamanian strongman toppled in U.S. invasion, dies at 83

    Obituaries

    Gen. Manuel Noriega, the Panamanian strongman and onetime American ally who was toppled from power in a 1989 U.S. invasion and who spent more than two decades imprisoned on drug dealing and conspiracy convictions, died late Monday. He was most likely 83.

    Gen. Manuel Antonio Noriega waves to newsmen after a state council meeting, at the presidential palace in Panama City, where they announced the new president of the republic in 1989. Panama's ex-dictator Noriega died Monday, May 29, 2017, in a hospital in Panama City. He was 83. [Associated Press]
  5. Austin Mahone talks Pitbull, Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande, his pop evolution and more

    Blogs

    Austin Mahone has vivid memories from his childhood visits to see his grandparents in Tampa Bay.