The Environmental Protection Division (EPD) fined both the City of Hahira and Lowndes County for issues dealing with their respective water and sewer systems.
Lowndes County, which was fined $14,000, was very proactive in the matter, with two of the three spills being attributed to the contractor, who paid $6,000 of the fine. On the county's part, the spill they were responsible for was traced to a power outage caused by a lightning strike and they have taken measures to prevent such an outage from occurring again. They took the matter seriously and dealt with it.
Hahira, however, was fined more than $6,000 for inaccurate record keeping, attributed to a company the city had contracted with to do just that for more than 20 years. But surprisingly, no one in the city who was asked by a Times reporter could recall the name of the company -- not the mayor, the city manager, the city clerk, two councilmen or the public works director.
While we would hope that there would never be a reason for the EPD or any other agency to fine one of our local governments, it is commendable that Lowndes took the matter seriously and handled it promptly. Hahira officials should follow their example and take care of this issue promptly -- and find out who they're doing business with.
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