Dec 192014

by Caron Balkany...

Concerning your Guest Editorial by Harry Powell:

Thank you very much for your guest editorial in The Blue Paper about the problems with shallow sewage wells at Cudjoe Regional. I think it’s really important to make these issues public, so I appreciate very much the time you’ve spent to do that.

But you’ve overlooked a very important fact.

The two property owners groups you mentioned are not the only challengers to the shallow wells at Cudjoe Regional, so the fact that they are now working with DigDeepCudjoe to try to convince FKAA to settle the legal challenge in exchange for some water quality studies – which are already required by FDEP anyway - instead of the deep well required by Florida law, does not mean that settlement is going to happen.

The shallow wells are also under legal challenge by two of my clients, Mike Laudicina and Don DeMaria, both commercial fishermen and experts in the local fisheries. DigDeepCudjoe and its associated property owners’ groups - who used to be our colleagues in pursuing the legal challenge to the shallow wells - may be now pursuing a settlement based on the studies and monitoring you describe in your editorial. But my clients are not. We know those studies have already been done, and we know they show clearly that our limestone surroundings are no place for shallow sewage wells. We worked hard on the Lapointe/Maynard PowerPoint you mentioned in your commentary. It provides the science which shows that shallow wells will endanger our fisheries, corals, and near shore waters, and will violate Florida law.

No-one should think that the legal challenge to the shallow wells will be settled in exchange for studies we don’t need instead of the deep well we do need.

StopTheShallowSewageWells has organized to help support the legal challenge to the shallow wells.

Thanks for the opportunity to offer this clarification.
Caron Balkany, Esq.


See the 12/18/2014 email from Caron Balkany, Esq., Esq. to the Board of County Commissioners challenging the water quality studies proposed by FKAA here.

See below from local residents:

Dear Neighbors,

We’re working to stop the planned shallow well sewage injection at Cudjoe Key. We need some help, please. We’ve sent around a fact sheet which explains why shallow sewage well injection in the Keys is such a bad idea. But it seems sort of obvious to those of us who live here, doesn’t it?

FKAA and FDEP don’t seem to get it. So a formal legal challenge to the shallow well permits has been filed by two of our neighbors, Mike Laudicina from Big Pine and Don DeMaria, from Summerland, both commercial fishermen and experts in our local waters.

Caron Balkany, from Big Torch, is the personal attorney for the two petitioners challenging the shallow wells, and has contributed her legal services without charge. Donald Maynard, P.E., C.G., Big Pine Key resident, is contributing his expert witness testimony as a hydrogeologist and engineer, also at no charge. Brian Lapointe, Ph.D., marine biologist and Big Pine Key resident, has also donated many hours of expert witness time to the legal challenge.

These contributions have considerably decreased the need for fund raising. But funds are still required for costs such as depositions needed to continue the legal challenge to the shallow wells.

We have great news! StopTheShallowSewageWells campaign has been accepted for fiscal sponsorship by EcoEd, a 501(c)(3) not for profit environmental protection organization. So all contributions to the StopTheShallowSewageWells campaign are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law. Eco-Ed is also offering a 100% match for any contributions received by StopTheShallowSewageWells campaign before February 1, 2015.

And we now have a PayPal account, so you can just click on the link below and make a contribution by credit card or through your PayPal account, directly to our campaign account.

If you prefer, you can send a check to Caron Balkany, Esq. who is volunteering her legal services for the two petitioners, Mike Laudicina and Don DeMaria. Please make checks payable to Caron Balkany PA Trust Account, and mail to PO Box 420859, Summerland Key, FL 33042.

If you’re willing to write to the County Commission to express your support for a deep well, that would be really helpful:;;;;

sewage pitWe thought you might want to see this photo of the sinkhole that opened up December 1 adjacent to one of the shallow sewage injection wells at Cudjoe. Doesn’t look like a good place to be injecting partially treated sewage effluent. According to our expert witness, that process is probably occurring throughout the area surrounding the wells and the sewage treatment Plant. That’s why we need a deep well.

All funds go towards legal costs. The petition for a formal administrative hearing has been filed and should be assigned a judge sometime in January 2015.

Thanks for anything you can do.

Mike and Jerry Tinnell

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Caron Balkany
 December 19, 2014  Posted by at 12:30 am Issue #93  Add comments

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