Residents propose a less expensive solution, but Flagler County officials are skeptical.
Updated 11:24 a.m. March 20.
Despite dozens of residents asking them to do the opposite, Flagler County commissioners on March 18 voted to move forward with phase 2 of design to build a new wastewater treatment plant in Plantation Bay, a gated community plagued by water trouble for years. Residents wanted swifter, less expensive solutions.
County Engineer Faith Alkhatib said phase 1 construction should be complete by Aug. 1 but that further problems were discovered; phase 2 is now necessary. Approving design would enable the county to complete construction of the next phase well ahead of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s July 31, 2022, deadline.
The county has requested funding help from the state, Commissioner Dave Sullivan said, but Plantation Bay residents are concerned that the cost will fall to them and that they are powerless to stop it.
Former County Commission candidate Jane Gentile-Youd said design work was unnecessary and a waste of time. She added, "Nobody has mentioned who has to pay."
Plantation Bay resident Fred Manzolillo called the situation a “catastrophe” and warned that Plantation Bay will be come a “wasteland” if the problem was fixed soon.
“I’m shocked by what’s going on,” Plantation Bay resident Mary Ann Redden said. “ … I can’t believe I’m standing here, having to argue for clean water and getting wastewater that works.”
Residents asked that the county instead pursue a $1.8 million solution from a Kansas-based company called Aero-Mod. Neither Alkhatib nor Interim County Administrator Jerry Cameron was aware of Aero-Mod's specifications but were skeptical of such an inexpensive solution for what their experience indicates should cost more like $7 million to $10 million.
County Commissioner Joe Mullins proposed that the county vote to approve the next phase of design but also to have Cameron explore the Aero-Mod solution as well. The motion was approved 5-0.
Editor's Note: This story originally stated that petitioners asked the county to consult with Aero-Mod, but that was incorrect. The petition asked the county to deny further construction that would impact water in Plantation Bay. Residents in attendance asked the county about Aero-Mod.