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Water-Related News

Hillsborough environmentalists, Swiftmud settle dispute over sinkhole pumping plan

With a deadline looming, water management officials and citizen groups this week settled their differences over a groundwater pumping plan that critics fear would help solve one environmental problem but create another.

On Tuesday, the Hillsborough Environmental Protection Commission and the private group Friends of the River said they would not challenge a proposed permit to pump up to 3.9 million gallons of water a day from the Morris Bridge Sink, a sinkhole in the Lower Hillsborough Wilderness Preserve.

"We are extremely happy that we do not have to go to court," said John Ovink, an attorney and co-founder of Friends of the River. Opponents had to decide by Wednesday whether to fight the pumping plan.

"We do not feel that we need to challenge this permit," EPC general counsel Rick Tschantz told Hillsborough County commissioners. "There are other ways to minimize or eliminate the impacts of pumping at the Morris Bridge Sink that we have worked out."