Florida's top environmental regulator reached the logical conclusion this week that it's a bad idea to let a commercial trash landfill threaten the quality of Tampa's drinking water.
In rejecting a permit application from Angelo's Aggregate Materials to build a 30-acre landfill in rural eastern Pasco County, Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Herschel Vinyard said the company hadn't offered adequate assurances that the buried trash wouldn't harm the surrounding environment in a sinkhole-prone area. Opponents feared the proposed landfill could grow to fill the more than 1,000 acres that Angelo's acquired seven years ago. The property sits roughly a mile from the Green Swamp, which holds the headwaters of four rivers including the Hillsborough, a drinking water source for the city of Tampa.
It probably didn't hurt that Vinyard's ruling sided with another commercial interest, commercial water bottlers. It was also opposed by a neighboring land owner, the Crystal Springs Preserve, and the cities of Tampa and Zephyrhills. In siding with scientific and public health concerns, the Department of Environmental Protection did its job.