A spill of roughly 250 gallons of raw sewage Oct. 10 at a Holley Navarre Water System (HNWS) treatment plant appears to have been intentional according to a letter provided to Navarre Press from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP).
The letter contains a written account of the actions leading up to and including the spill from an operator who allegedly witnessed the incident. The witness stated he saw a VAC pump truck pull into the Holley Water Reclamation Facility near Burnt Mill Road, approaching the area near the monitoring well.
The truck raised its tank into the dump position. The witness took pictures, then approached the area.
“I then proceeded to exit the office and saw a HNWS truck backing up to the lawn mower trailer to move it out of the way so the pump truck could get in to pump down the influent lift station,” he said.
According to the report, a man referred to as “Too Tall” said to the witness, “hey, you didn’t see that.”
The witness replied, “See what?”
The statement then indicates HNWS employee Justin Moxley backed up the mower trailer and employee Danny Hawkins was guiding him.
“I asked Danny why they were here again since they had just cleaned the lift station a few days prior,” the statement reads. “Danny told me they were just at Treasure Street lift station cleaning and pumping it down and there was a bunch of sand that may have been pumped to my lift station.”
When the witness returned later, the pump truck was once again in the dump position, and “Too Tall” was spraying it out.
At about noon, the witness returned to the area on foot and found a large pile of sand and broken green pipe.
“The pile of sand smelled strongly of raw sewage. It was at this time that I took two pictures of the pile of sand from the Treasure Street lift station,” the statement reads.
The witness did not report the incident to HNWS management until Oct. 18. At that time, HNWS made a report to the FDEP State Watch Office. According to utility CEO Rob Williamson, the workers have completed the cleanup and taken samples from nearby water bodies for testing.
According to FDEP External Affairs Manager Brandy Smith, the department’s investigation is also ongoing. The facility is required to report any incident that could impact public health within 24 hours of becoming aware of the circumstance.
Waste Water Treatment Plant operations manager Christopher Legg included the statement by the witness in his official letter to FDEP. He went on to write that the witness recently acquired his license and was informed delayed reporting cannot occur in the future, including a verbal warnings that another incident could result in disciplinary action.
“Please understand that HNWS is completely aware that this incident is not to be taken lightly, and we would like for the Department of Environmental Protection to fully prosecute those individuals involved in this deliberate act of negligence and total disregard for environmental protection,” Legg wrote.