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Our Santa Fe River, Inc.



I went to the Suwannee River Water Management District meeting on Wednesday last week (instead of working because it was so important).  At this particular meeting they discussed changes to the Administrative Rule 40B-2, for industrial and commercial water permit users (namely I attended for our intents and puposes…water bottlers). There is an article from the Lake City Reporter in this e-mail that covers the story well.  Our Santa Fe River will keep you informed via Holly Stalvey, communications liason for SRWMD, as to when and where the next important public meetings are for this VERY IMPORTANT rule changing procedure as the rules have not been changed since 1982!

I did meet Mr. Stephen Cheeseman here for the first time.  He owns Sawdust Springs (also known as Santa Fe Springs, LLC…somewhat next to Blue Springs and across from the tube out location for Ginnie Springs park on the Santa Fe River).  This is listed as a 3rd level magnitude spring, with a discharge of 3,090,000 gallons a day, (March 2000.)  Mr. Cheeseman purchased this bottle water permit in a land deal back in Sept. 2005 and it was originally permitted in year 2000 by Langston Holland (land owner) and SRWMD for consumptive use, water bottling.  Mr. Cheeseman is allowed an average and a maximum withdrawal of 150,000 gallons per day, not to exceed 54,750,000 gallons a calendar year.  And at this time, according to 40B-2 he can reapply to his permit and make it bigger (this is proposed to be changed in the revised rules…once a permit is established there will be no upping of the withdrawal).

Mr. Cheeseman wants to extract (by way of a “pump station”) water from a place located near the spring head, so he can label his water “spring water” and put it in trucks or a PIPELINE and deliver the water to Ft. White or possibly a place between Santa Fe River and Lake City where it will then be “processed” and put into prefabricated plastic bottles and then packaged and shipped to the ends of the earth.  The neighborhood where the “pump station” would be located is rural residential/agriculture.

This building permit request will be heard in Columbia County because of the location of the “pump station” in rural Columbia County.  It will also be heard in Ft. White (or some other town government depending on where he desires to put the facility that will complete the manufacturing of the product.  We have good reason to believe it will be Ft. White because the negotiations have already begun last year with the Ft. White Council members by meetings with the mayor and unknown members of the council and staff.  Mr. Cheeseman has also met with private land holders in the town limits of Ft. White in an effort to purchase property where the facility or plant might be located.

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Sawdust Springs is located behind this sign on the Santa Fe River, Florida
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Sawdust Springs looking toward the Santa Fe River

Consider this….Mr. Cheeseman, Sawdust Springs, Santa Fe Springs, LLC all one of the same and definitely one to watch.   We will keep you posted as to when and where the meetings for this one will be.   He has until August 6, 2009 to fulfill his permit conditions from the SRWMD.  One of the conditions is that he must get approval to construct the pump station and the facility.  Please inform you friends, neighbors and co-workers of this too.

Kim Davis, owner of Blue Springs Properties, was also in the meeting room (last Wednesday) about the rule changes to 40B-2.  Her being present leads me to think she does not give up easily.  She is expected to legally appeal the decision made in Gilchrist County.  We will keep you posted.

Please donate to help us help the river.

Fundraising is imperative. Contact us by e-mail or phone number if you want to make a gift or donation for our efforts in stopping more water bottlers on the Santa Fe River.

Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson
board member OSFR

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