WUFT News

Decree filed for Cabot-Koppers site cleanup

By on February 13th, 2013

A consent decree was filed Thursday to clean up the Cabot-Koppers Superfund site, which has contaminated local soil and the Floridan aquifer system for the past three decades.

The decree was created between Beazer East, Inc. and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The Floridan aquifer system that was contaminated makes up 90 percent of the state’s drinking water.

“The reason it’s filed in federal court is to make sure the consent decree … can be legally enforced,” said Chris Bird, director of the Alachua County Environmental Protection Department. “It’s certainly a start.”

Cleanup at the site, which is located near Northwest 23rd Avenue and North Main Street, would cost Beazer East, Inc. about $60 million, according to Scott Miller, project manager at the EPA. The length of the cleanup is a major concern.

“The downside of these responsible-party-funded cleanups is that they tend to take longer,” he said. “I guess we are lucky in a sense that we have a corporation that’s got assets and that’s willing to go forward.”

Residents from the Stephen Foster neighborhood adjacent to the site fear toxins from the land could cause cancer. However, researchers from the Alachua County Health Department found no higher cancer rates than other areas.

Homeowners also expressed unease about the contamination inside their homes.

“The agreement does not really address that,” Bird said. “I think one reason is because there is no federal standard to define what is an acceptable level of certain chemicals within people’s houses.”

The public will be able to submit comments on the notice of consent decree, which the EPA expects to appear on Monday, for 30 days after its release.

“We can provide comments, we can provide suggestions, but we’re really not at the bargaining table directly when it comes to working out these terms,” Bird said.

A Gainesville federal judge must approve the decree before remediation work begins.

The ideal case for the cleanup would be to dig the contamination up and remove it, said Rick Hutton, the supervising utility engineer at Gainesville Regional Utilities.

“The problem is that it’s not a very cost-effective way of doing it,” he said.

The cost of the digging up method would be about $500 million, Hutton said. He said that would be the preferred way to go, but there are other more realistic methods to use.

Hutton said the company should focus on ground water containment, in which a well pumps the contaminated water out and cleans it, so the contamination in the ground water cannot continue to spread.

Laura Foreman wrote this story online.


This entry was posted in Environment and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
 

More Stories in Environment

Citrus Greening

Saving Florida Orange Juice: The Search For A Cure For Citrus Greening – The Greening Series, Part 3

Nutrient supplements, root stock additives, genetic modification, heat therapies and a bacterial killer are just a few of the proposed solutions to what has been called the worst disease in history to hit Florida orange groves. Citrus greening, a bacterial [...]


Citrus  Greening

How A Fourth Generation Citrus Farmer Fights To Save His Grove – The Greening Series, Part 2

Steve Futch, UF IFAS Extension agent, and family farmer, Mac Turner, right, tour the new orange tree plantings on Turner’s family farm in Arcadia, Fla. in April 2014. (Heather van Blokland/WUFT) Citrus farmer Mac Turner is fighting to keep his [...]


The Orange Bird is a cartoon character mascot created in 1970 by Disney for the Florida Citrus Commission.   A likeness of the famous icon now hangs in the hallway of Florida Citrus Mutual CEO Mike Sparks.

Why The Orange Is So Important to Florida – The Greening Series, Part 1

In our first of a three-part series on citrus greening, WUFT’s Heather van Blokland takes us through a bit of history on Florida’s connection to the orange


VIDEO: Horse Protection Association Of Florida

Because of flooding on 150 acres of Micanopy land, the Horse Protection Association of Florida is in need of dry land for its rescues. A suitable area was found for 23 of the horses, but HPAF’s Morgan Silver worries about organizing the funds to continue paying rent.


Horse

Small-Scale Horse Operations Guide to Protect Florida Water

The Florida Department of Education released a manual for small-scale horse operation best management practices in order to help preserve the state’s water resources.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments