NASHVILLE -- Berry County residents opposed to placing a waste gasification and tire incinerator at the county's former recycling center off Garner Road met Thursday night at the Allenville Community Center.

The Concerned Citizens Committee, headed by John Howeth, is also fighting the rezoning of 15 acres of property off Garner Road from agricultural use to heavy industry, which is the first step needed for the incinerator to be located at the site.

The application to rezone has been recommended for approval by the Berrien County Planning Commission, but has not been on the Berrien County Board of Commissioners' agenda as reported earlier. However, commissioners have been addressed by Anthony Fraccalvieri, of DAJAP Consulting Inc., who along with Carol Jewell of Nashville, applied for the application. They filed the application with the Planning Commission Jan. 14, and it was approved Feb. 5, Howeth said.

Commissioners James Griner and Wayne Roberts attended the meeting with the more than 75 citizens. Both commissioners briefly addressed the crowd after listening to the presentation about the Florida aquifer by Dr. Cam Denizman, a hydrology expert and geology professor at Valdosta State University.

Denizman told the crowd that the Florida aquifer, which he said is the water supply for all of South Georgia and Florida, is very sensitive.

"The Florida aquifer is made of huge cave systems and underground channels and is different from every other aquifer in this country," Denizman said. "There is no natural filtration in this system. Here, what you are dumping is what you are drinking."

He told the audience the flow of water in the aquifer is much faster and that contamination will show up downstream in a couple of days.

Several residents spoke openly against the proposed incinerator. One question, for which no one had an answer, was how Berrien County was selected. The group also discussed the possibility that DAJAP Consulting Inc. would try to locate in a neighboring county that does not have zoning and does not require an application.

The commissioners will have a public hearing at 6 p.m. April 5 at the Ag Center on County Farm Road. Howeth told the committees they must have presentations ready for that evening.

The Berrien County Concerned Citizens Committee will continue meeting at 7 p.m. Thursdays at the Allenville Community Center. For information, call Howeth at 686-9048.

To contact Tanya B. O'Berry, call 244-3400, ext. 239.

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