In its bid to obtain a permit to mine sand in southeastern Baker County where DuPont has been mining for decades, Tampa-based Oldcastle Southern Group picked up a key ally last week: the City of Macclenny.City commissioners unanimously approved a deal with Old Castle on June 11 that enables the company to use reclaimed water from the city’s sewage treatment plant in its operation instead of pumping millions of gallons of water from the aquifer.
“Through much negotiating we’ve put together a win-win for the city and for Oldcastle,” said City Manager Phil Rhoden after he presented the 11-page, 50-year contract to commissioners at the board’s monthly meeting.
Mr. Rhoden quickly added that the proposed partnership would be more helpful to Oldcastle than to the city since the company’s plans have drawn opposition from numerous local residents committed to halting any further mining in the county.
Further, he noted, the city has a permit from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection allowing the discharge of treated wastewater into Turkey Creek and probably would be allowed to continue with that method of disposal for several years to come.
“But they (FDEP) are very much in favor of our entering into this contract if at all possible,” he said.