Sludge fill in worries Acreage residents about well water contamination

Dumped sludge worries those living in the Acreage

THE ACREAGE, Fla. - Materials recycled from construction sites, mulch and horse manure are being used as fill in on different properties in the Acreage, which is west of Royal Palm Beach.

The materials that Michelle Damone of the Indian Trail Improvement District said, pose some concerns.

One site in particular that has raised some eyebrows is across the street from Pierce Hammock Elementary School on Hamlin Boulevard.

It's right next to Debra Murphy's home and other neighbors. 

Murphy said horse manure, some substance she doesn't know what it is,  and different kinds of mulch, have been dumped at the property next to her.

"When it started it was just stinky," Murphy said. "We all just kept wondering, 'What is that smell?'"

That smell that filled the air was smelled by her neighbors, faculty from her kids elementary school,  and herself.

It's believed to be a mix she said  is dumped in the evenings daily by an unknown person,  and the Indian Trail Improvement District has asked county commissioners to investigate the dumping practices on the site.

Murphy wants to know if whatever is being dumped is what's caused her water to worsen over the past several months.

"We noticed that it started stinking our water and it started turning more yellow," said Murphy.

She's had someone come out and work on her well water a couple of times as well, which hasn't solved the problem,  she said.

Lime sludge may be part of the smelly mix of soil in the area too.

"We don't want to be a dumping ground for anyone," Damone said.

Lime sludge is a by-product of what is used to treat ground water by water treatment facilities, according to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

DEP officials say they did an analysis in 2006 and determined that it was not expected to pose a threat to ground water or the public heath of people who ingested it. 

"We just want to make sure since we have large tracts of land,  and we're on well water,  that it just doesn't interfere with our natural properties and our natural quality of water and land," Damone said.

Until they find out if it does and if it has something to do with Murphy's water being yellow, she's not using it.

"We can't take it anymore," Murphy said. "We don't feel safe drinking it or really bathing in it."

She said the family will only use store bought water and plastic dishes since they can't trust the water used for the dishwasher until the yellow color goes away or they hook up to a cleaner water source.

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