How to protect drinking water
Bill Sadowski and his family do not drink
the water that flows from the taps in their
Miami home. The chairman of the statewide
water task force explains, "We drink bottled
water we have for years. We started a few
years ago when one of those reports came out
that said there were x-number of things in the
water. We just decided, 'Why take the
Sadowski lives in Dade County where the
threat of dangerous drinking water is the most
severe in the state. Some of the water-pollution
problems in South Florida are unique to that
area of the state. But other problems such as
hazardous wastes, landfills and leaking storage
tanks could contaminate water all over
After the task force studied the problem for
six months, Sadowski concluded, "It's an
IF YOU READ the task force report, or
the comprehensive articles by reporter Robert
Barnes which were published in the St. Peters-
burg Times, you would be convinced that
there's an urgent need for the Florida Legis-
lature to address the problem. Dade County
already has put tougher restrictions on every-
thing from septic tanks to hazardous waste hau-
lers. But a statewide approach is the only way
to insure that all Floridians will have safe water
It's encouraging that House Speaker Lee
Moffitt, who established Sadowski's water task
force, is leading the effort to put tougher re-
strictions on hazardous wastes, pesticides, sep-
tic tanks and other threats to the state's drink-
ing water supplies.
Moffitt, hca'-vee, ..eetis considerable sup-
port to succeed. With the task force report in
hand, the Speaker has a rare opportunity to jolt
legislators out of their complacency. For years,
they have shirked their responsibility to pro-
tect the state's underground water resources.
Now, the threat has been documented so well
that it will be difficult for them to ignore the
problem. The recommendations of the task
force should be implemented this year.
On the Senate side, there's also interest in
doing something. Special subcommittees are
studying how to protect the state's under-
ground water supplies and recommending ways
to deal with the spreading hazardous waste
The only missing political element is strong
leadership from Gov. Bob Graham and Victoria
Tschinkel, secretary of the Department of En-
vironmental Regulation (DER). Their commit-
ment is crucial because of the money involved.
The state has not been spending nearly enough
to protect its drinking water. Graham and
Tschinkel should be making a greater effort to
get adequate funding and staffing for DER.
Last year, environmental programs in
Florida received only 1.4 percent of the state's
budget; DER got about $20-million. For fiscal
year 1983-84, Graham has recommended that
DER's budget be increased to about
$32.4-million and that 48 additional staffers be
ALTHOUGH THAT MAY seem like a
substantial increase, it's not enough. The task
force concluded that to carry out all of its rec-
ommendations, DER's budget would have to be
increased to about $70-million next year and
that funding should continue on that level.
Graham's budget was prepared, for the
most part, before the water task force com-
pleted its work. While it contains substantial
funds for cleaning up hazardous waste sites, it
does not contain enough money to deal with
other severe water-pollution problems. Gra-
ham and Tschinkel should revise their budget
request to reflect the emergency situation de-
scribed by the task force.
The Legislature is faced with many difficult
choices when setting budget priorities. What
could be more important, however, than mak-
ing sure Florida's water is safe to drink? As
Sadowski said, "Why take the chance?"
Temik manufacturer, biologists trade arguments
TAII.AIIASSEE (AP) The maker of
Temik traded arguments with biologists
yesterday at a hearing into whether Agricul-
lure Commissioner Doyle Conner should ex-
tend his suspension of most uses of the con-
The suspension expires April 18. Conner,
who is expected to extend it until the end of
the year, said he will announce his decision
SOfficials of Union Carbide, which makes
Temnk. blasted the proposed extension.
"Temik has become a cause celebre a
convenient target, if you will for a host of
anxieties and misunderstandings," John II.
Kirch, a Union Carbide vice president, told
Conner, who presided at the hearing. "There
is much scientific and factual information to
support the fact that no widespread threat
to drinking-water supplies exists from the
use of Temik."
But Dr. Robert Livingstone, a Florida
State University biologist, argued that more
studies are needed to probe the effects of al-
dicarb, the active ingredient in Temik. Use
of the pesticide should be suspended Indefi-
nitely, he said, until its safety is proven.
Conner has said he needs more time to
study whether the pesticide is contaminat-
ing Florida's groundwater before he gives
citrus growers the go-ahead to again use it.
But even if Conner extends the ban, ad-
ministrative challenges could snarl its legal-
ity, giving Florida growers an opportunity to
use the pesticide after the temporary sus-
pension expires April 18.
Harold Brown, a Fort Pierce citrus grow-
er and pesticide applicator, is challenging
Conner 's authority to suspend Temik
through the end of the year.
Brown, who has already lost an adminis-
trative challenge to the temporary ban, said
if Temik application becomes legal, he and
other pesticide applicators would try to ap-
ply "as much as we could" to citrus groves.
But Agriculture Department lawyer
Frank Graham said that if Brown and oth-
ers try to frustrate a ruling, the Cabinet
could be asked to exempt the proposed
Temnik suspension from Florida's Adminis-
Iralive I'rocedures Act.
Conner is also considering designating
Trenik "a 'restricted-use' pesticide," mean-
ing only licensed applicators could use it.
Conner temporarily suspended most uses
of Tmnik Jan. 28.
TALLAHASSEE (UPI) -
Union Carbide officials said Mon-
day they're not opposed to reason-
able restrictions on the pesticide
Temik, but they branded Agricul-
ture Commissioner Doyle Conner's
proposal to ban the product for the
rest of the year "unnecessary."
However, Robert Livingston, a
Florida State University biology
professor, said that he agreed with
Conner's proposal pending collec-
tion of more scientific data.
The conflicting testimony came
during a hearing before Conner on
proposed Agriculture Department
rules to extend a temporary ban on
the use of Temik and to implement
tighter reporting procedures if the
product is cleared for use again.
Conner said he would not issue a
final ruling for at least five days. If
Conner upholds the rules, as he is
expected to do. they would be filed
with the secretary of state.
Fort Pierce pesticide applicator
Harold F. Brown has already filed a
challenge to Conner's proposal to
extend the ban. Meanwhile,
Brown's earlier complaint against
Conner's emergency ban has been
Brown contended at a hearing
March 18 that Conner had exceeded
his authority In ordering the tempo-
rary ban because no emergency ex-
isted to justify the commissioner's
In a ruling announced Monday,
Department of Administrative
Hearings official Diane Tremor dis-
missed Brown's challenge, saying
Conner's emergency ban was "a
valid exercise of delegated legisla-
Conner acted Jan. 28 after pesti-
dde residues were found in wells In
Central Florida. lie recently has ex-
pressed concern about what hap-
pens to the residues in the acidic
soils of Florida's citrus growing re-
Union Carbide Vice president
John Kirch testified Monday that
Temik was an "extremely benefi-
cial" pesticide, which improved
yields in treated citrus groves by 18
Kirch said residues of aldicarb,
Temik's active ingredient, would al-
ways be found in soil and shallow
water under treated groves. He he
added that only three of the more
than 800 wells tested In recent
months had shown detectable reld-
"The fundamental truth is degra-
dation jof aldlcarb residuesJ Is inev-
itable.' he said. "Thiis scientific
fact. It is irrefutable."
Kirch discounted questions about
aldicarb residues in mature fruit,
saying research indicated that even
if oranges contained the maximum
allowable level of residue a 132-
pound man would have to drink 26
gallons of juice in a single sitting
lifore showing any effect from the
ILegislIatlors Foruni T'Iask Fore 'Es
Haraiota lhraild Tribune Fri., March 18, 1983
Schools, Prisons, Water Draw Attention
By ALLAN HORTON
A legislative strike force drumming up support
for a package of proposed bills to augment state aid
to schools, prisons and ground-water systems made
a whistle stop Thursday In Sarasota.
At a conference with the editorial staff of the
Herald-Tribune, the lawmakers outlined the skele-
tal aspects of a legislative package which, if enact-
ed, promises sweeping changes in the social and
physical systems it addresses.
First in the order of discussion was the recom-
mended legislation for ground-water regulation
generated by a special task force appointed by
Speaker of the House Lee Moffitt, D-Tampa, and REIIM SADOWSKI
chaired by former representative William E. Sa-
' dowski of Miami. legislation which goes beyond the regulatory control impose
Sadowski said while there were innumerable already through the state's five water management districts
topics concerning ground and surface water sys- and its Department of Environmental Regulation and ties
teams the task force could have studied, it focused on t ground-water protection to a mechanism for funding hazard-
ground water specifically becau..e if the fragility of s ous waste controls.
Sthe system and its vulnerability to hazardous and ,
*toxic waste contamination. Th.t mechanism would add 20 cents per $100 of assessed
lie said in many areas of the state such as his property value to the 45Lcent state documentary stamp tax
home area, large populations are exposed to lie and impose a tax at the wholesale level on imported bulk
significant risk of contamination of a sole source of .petroleum products including bulk chemicals and agricultural
water. &chemicals, coupling the resultant fund to the state's 0il Spill
The Biscayne Aquifer, for Instance, is a shallow, ad hazardous Waste Clean-Up Trust Fund and creating
porous limestone aquifer perched between an in- : matching dollars for federal "Superfund" waste cleanup alln-
creasingly densely settled surface crust and an ,
underlying cell of salt water which provides the Other areas the legislation would attack Include the ground-
only source of ground-water supply for Broward, water waste represented by "wild" flowing wells and contami-
Dade and Monroe counties, requiring reliance for ,nation from septic tank systems which according to Sadowski,
practical supply purposes on Lake Okeechobee's 'proliferate at the rate of 50,000 units annually in the state.
n times of flooding rainfall such as currently Sen. Jerry Rehm, R-Dunedin, and a supporter of criminal
prevails, the problem becomes one of draining "justice system reforms, said the legislation addressing the
excess water, an act not without its own social and state' criminal justice system provides the first formal policy
environmental consequences, but in times of .statement on criminal justice promulgated by the Isgislature.
drought, every drop of water from whatever source Rehm said the legislation, rather than augmenting the
is precious. traditional policy of housing a growing prison inmate popula-
Because of the fragility and exposure of ground- tion by building new prisons, promotes alternative methods ,f
water systenis to man-made contamination, state incarceration and punishment to put into work-release o.
government has a special duty to provide prolec- other public programs those prisoners convicted of non-violseit
tive relations and controls throughout the state, crimes which, according to statistical information, constitute
said Sa aI, ....., ;irlinug the "imcie.liile" grow0lt '.rcs- 60 percent of Florida's prison population.
sltll I A.Ij; ck led on the stlie as a wWlhuL Wnily
undiersnrior. that ol.ligation.
As a rI.:.ll, Iat! water task force iecommlnnd.ld
; Rep. James Ward, D-Port Walton Beach, said people want
.felons punished for their crimes, but they also want the
punishment to fit the crime and while lifelong imprisonment
,seems warranted in the case of the violent criminal the felon
convicted of rape, murder, aggravated assault, et cetera -
'those convicted of crimes such as petty theft, embezzling or
fraud might better be punished performing a highly visible,
,possibly demeaning function which also could benefit rather
'than drain society.
SWard, chairman of the House Corrections, Probation and
'Parole Committee, said criminal justice legislation is one of
Sthe easiest types of legislative bills to demagogue, an area that
'Jo many legislators and their constituents is better kept "out of
*sight, out of mind."
j' In the final area, the education in math and science of
Florida's youth, a mathemlics and science education task
torce appointed also by Moffitt recommended the state pre-
Ipare its youth more thoroughly to cope with a high technology.
Rep Jon Mills. D-Gainesville and chairman of the House
Natural Resources Committee, said the status of the state's
'educational priorities perhaps can best be exemplified by the
*fact that during the past year, three physics teachers were
graduated versus 300 physical education instructors.
He caUed the lack of availability of teachers in technical
fields "frightening." adding that as soon as a teacher acquires
proficiency in a technical field, the education systems bid for
his or her services is surpassed by private industry.
As a result, the education legislative package proposes a
.number of state-subsidized benefits for attracting proficient
teachers, including relocation travel allowances, subsidized
loan programs, preferential summer employment programs
or placement services, augmented educational opportunities
:pnd other incentives.
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- Kim Kulish/Special
Mike Geden uses an electromagnetometer to find chemical drums at a transportation department dump in Fairbanks.
Cleanup starts at toxic-waste site
By Andrea Rowand
Times-Union Staff Writer
GA.NESVILLE The $250.000 first phase
of cleaning an area used for five years by
the Department of Transportation as a
hazardous-waste dump began yesterday.
So far. 25 private wells have shown traces
of the same toxins that are buried in steel
drums in a pit at Fairbanks, about six miles
north of Gainesville.
The transportation department is proceed-
ing on the assumption that they are the prob-
able source of the well-water contamination.
-aid Chuck Aller, the department's director
of the Fairbanks project. "It's reasonable to
assume we are the source."
Environmental technicians hired by the
transportation department started yesterday
scanning the 650-square-foot dumping ground
with metal detectors, looking for 50 metal
drums about 10 feet underground.
Those drums apparently either leaked or
rusted through, allowing the chemical
trichluroethane (and closely related chemi-
cai,) to seep into groundwater. Aller said.
"I hope the department [of transportation]
is not going to do anything like this again."
said Aller. who said the drums were illegally
burned because of an office oversight.
But Aller said it is still possible the con-
tamination is not linked to the department
but to possible industrial contamination
A Boca Raton environmental consulting
firm will evaluate next month how badly the
drinking water in Fairbanks has been pollut-
ed. The i50.000 study also is to pinpoint the
source of the contamination.
Once the drums are found, they will be re-
moved, tested, treated and sent to an out-of-
state hazardous-waste disposal site, Aller
Until 1978, the chemicals used in the de-
partment's testing laboratory in Gainesille
were decontaminated by workers at the lab-
oratory. But in 1978 the equipment used for
decontamination needed overhauling, a pro-
cess that was deemed too expensive. In-
house treatment of the chemicals ended .Al-
"In retrospect I wish we had done it (ren-
ovated the equipment]," Aller said.
From 1978 until last spring, the
department's laboratory workers assumed
that the chemicals were being disposed of
properly, but. in fact, the chemicals were il-
legally burned m the department pit at Fair-
banks. Aller said.
It wds a classic case of :he right hand not
beig aware of what the left hand was doing.
If it was responsible for the pollution, the
cost of cleaning polluted groundwater could
cost the transportation department several
million dollars, a source from the state De
apartment of Environmental Resources said
Trichloroethane, trichloroethylene arnd
dichloroethane are potentially cancer-
causing agents also capable of causing hear.
and Ibver disorders. The toxic effects of the
chemical depend on its concentration. Small
amounts are used as food additives.
State health officials have cautioni o Fair-
banks residents to bu.i bottled \water or boi:
their well water before drinking it.
Illinois alleges illegal
dumping, sues waste firmn
caadyd...mAuP. U w.. Don Reddicliffe director of public,
CHICAGO The state of Illinois sued
the world's largest toxic waste disposal
company Monday, claiming it illegally
dumped ttuckloads of suspected cancer-
causing poisons at a landfill.
State Attorney General Neil Hartigan
said Waste Management Inc. of Oak Brook,
Ill. dumped 400,000 gallons of deadly DCBs
at a landfill without a permit.
The company locked records of its
shipments in a safe "to make sure the Illi-
nois Environmental Protection Agency
(IEPA) did not learn of the shipments,"
The suit, filed against Waste Manage-
ment and two of its subsidiaries, totals
In another development Monday,
-Chemical Waste Management, a subsidiary
of Waste Management Inc., ordered an
immediate suspension of disposal opera-
tions at a storage site in Vickery, Ohio. The
suspension comes after an investigation
found an Ohio subsidiary, Ohio Liquid
Disposal, has been storing waste oil con-
taining the suspected carcinogen PCB at a
higher than allowed.
Waste Management's stock plunged
10% points Monday on the New York
Stock Exchange to close at 494, a turnover
of 2.2-million shares.
affairs for Waste Management, said com-
pany officials would have no comment until
they had seen the suit.
THE DUMPING occurred at the
400-acre Calumet Industrial Development
landfill in Calumet City, Hartigan said.
Waste Disposal dumped the chemicals
to "please a customer with whom they had
a $4-million contract," Hartigan said.
"They withheld the manifests on 50 of
the tanker trucks with the heaviest con-
centration of DCBs and, instead of sending
them to IEPA, locked them in a safe at
company headquarters," Hartigan said.
Regulatory agencies rely on manifests
as part of the "cradle-to-grave" tracking of
dangerous substances, Hartigan said.
The company told the New York
Times, in an article Monday on improper
handling of wastes, that "while many of
these allegations appear to be without
merit, we intend to investigate each al-
legation in detail."
It was not known whether the DCBs -
short for dichlorobenzidines posed an
immediate danger to the people of Calumet
DCBs, used to make dyes, are listed by
the US. Department of Health and Human
Services as "known or reasonably suspect-
hiLe Ala!hnla ilourlnlw AJlAII).ENIt Il)N SUNDAY MAK.CI 21 IVUJ,
wonder what all
the fuss is about
By Gall Epstein and Gregg Jones
t Jones Kitchen, In downtown Jesup, the
lunchtime regulars usually munch on all-you-
can-eat fried chicken and chat about work at
the paper mill or their latest catches from the Alta-
But the patrons who sat elbow-to-elbow at the
restaurant's bench tables last week had a new topic
of conversation: all of the "commotion" about re-
cently discovered spills of the toxic chemical PCB
on and near the property of the Holley Electric
The firm is the focus of Investigations by state
and federal environmental officials because of its
apparently Improper handling and storage of PCBs
and hazardous wastes.
A temporary restraining order Issued Friday
prohibits the firm from further handling PCBs or
hazardous wastes. It also orders that wastes al-
ready at the site be removed from Jesup and that
contaminated soil on and around the company's
land be excavated.
Many residents of this small southeast Georgia
town make their livings at nearby paper mills
which regularly supplied Holley Electric with a
good portion of its PCB waste-storage business.
Finding their town the sudden ob-
ject of media attention and
government scrutiny has left some
citizens fearful of a negative impact care of i
on the local economy particularly make a(
because they cannot see any evidence "1 dor
of wrongdoing at Holley Electric. PCBs wi
"Why have a catastrophe over Eldred I
something that's been here probably paper n
longer than we know about?" asked one's gol
Jim Westberry, an employee of And besi
Wayne County, as he ate fried if Holley
chicken. "I think our officials took It."
NATHENIA SAPP: Garden is next to the plant.
t, and now everyone wants to
commotion about it."
't think anyone knows what
II do in the long run," agreed
(ing, an employee of a local
lill. "In the industry, every-
t PCBs in their transformers.
ides, who would handle PCBs
Didn't? Somebody's got to do
A few years ago, nationally syndi-
cated radio commentator Paul Har-
vey, intrigued with the name Jesup,
closed several of his programs with
the comment, "But nothing happened
in Jesup, Ga., today."
Townspeople quickly adopted Ilar-
vey's declarations as their own rally-
ing cry, and often wryly comment,
"Well, you know nothing ever hap-
pens in Jesup."
..... Wwn IaSl i iiu Ai n llvl.ille
since 1981. but it appears that liar-
vey's assessment is no longer correct.
With PCB spills and talk of a strike
at the town's largest employer -
paper manufacturer ITT Rayonier -
residents of this pine tree-tilled city
of 10,000 are begrudgingly facing two
of the biggest problems of the 1980s:
economics and environmental con-
While the crowd at Jones Kitchen
was worrying about the impact of
PCB spills on the town's image, resi-
dents living next to Holley Electric
were more concerned about the
They wondered whether their chil-
dren should play in the back-yard
sandbox, or what kind of strawberry
crops would sprout from their well-
Early last week, after evidence of
PCB spills was first discovered by
state environmental scientists, neigh-
bors of the firm's warehouse ex-
pressed fear and bitterness. They
were afraid that the toxic chemical
had spread to their property.
But soil and water samples taken
last week showed Friday that PCBs
had spread from Holley's property
only in small amounts that were not
concentrated enough to be dangerous.
Investigations of company owner
Lynwood Holley continue, however,
amid allegations by former employ-
ees that they were instructed to vio-
late numerous laws and regulations
regarding the handling of PCBs and
One former employee told Jesup
police that his superiors had him
dump PCB-contaminated materials at
the Wayne County Sanitary Landfill.
Jesup Mayor Joel Greene, fearful
of possible PCB contamination of a
creek near the landfill, said Friday
that he will ask state environmental;
officials to test the water.
PCBs can threaten human health
and have been found to cause cancer
in laboratory animals. That discovery
led to a ban on manufacturing PCBs
in the late 1970s.
Since the introduction of PCBs by
Monsanto in 1929, 1.5 billion pounds
of the toxic chemical have been pro-
duced. They are found in power-pole
Transformers, some air conditioners
and even television sets.
The statistics associated with PCB
contamination are staggering:
10 million pounds of PCBs es-
cape into the environment each year
through illegal dumping, spills and
leaks, according to estimates by the
federal Environmental Protection
S758 million pounds of PCBs are
still In use, another 290 million
pounds are in dumps and landfills
and 150 million pounds are in water,.
Soil and air, the EPA estimates.
r 30 million transformers still con-
A 1974 U.S. Fish and Wildlife
tJ'r's Service study found PCBs to be
present in 90.2 percent of freshwater:
fish in the nation.
) Events indicate that the PCB prob-
lem nationwide is far from solved:
fir- In north Georgia, a General'
Electric facility in Rome discharged
PCBs into the Coosa River from 1954
to 1978. A Library of Congress studyi
said tests taken from the river
showed levels of PCBs in fish up to
25 times greater than the allowable
NICK ARROYO/S.aff Food and Drug Administration levels.
JONES KITCHEN: Jim Westberry, left. and Bill Brown: think our officials took care of it'
Is Florida's water safe?
For the last three years, thousands of home-
owners on Long Island have purchased bottled
water because the water that comes out of their
taps is poisoned by the pesticide Temik. No one
knows how long their drinking water wells will
be contaminated, but estimates run up to 100
An increasing number of Floridians are in
the same predicament. The tap water in some
homes scattered across the state already is un-
fit to drink. Pesticides and other toxic
chemicals are seeping into Florida's shallow
aquifers and could contaminate the drinking
water source for 90 percent of the state's resi-
dents. It has already happened in a few places.
State officials are doing such a poor job of
protecting Florida's drinking water from fur-
ther contamination, there is no telling how
many residents will be forced to buy bottled wa-
ter in the years ahead. That frightening conclu-
sion can be drawn from the comprehensive arti-
cles about Florida's water by reporter Robert
Barnes, which have been published in the St.
Petersburg Times for the past three weeks.
IN SUNDAY'S story about pesticides,
Barnes chronicled a history of regulatory neg-
lect and ineptitude. Bill Sadowski, who headed
a special task force that examined the state's
water supplies, told Barnes his committee had
a simple question: "Which state agency screens
pesticides that could potentially contaminate
"The discovery was that there was none,"
Sadowski said. "It was astounding to me that
we are left to discover contamination only after
What state officials know about pesticide
use in Florida is miniscule compared to what
they don't know. They know, for example, that
Florida is among the top three pesticide users.
But they don't know how many tons of the tox-
ic chemicals were applied to Florida fields last
year. They don't know which pesticides are
most commonly used or where they are most
heavily applied. They don't know, based on
their own studies, what effect pesticides have
on the state's underground water supplies.
State officials put most of their trust in the
federal Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA) to determine whether a pesticide is safe
and how it may be used. In turn, the EPA bases
its evaluation on tests by the chemical man-
ufacturers that have the most to gain by favora-
ble results. And there is a catch 22. The EPA
says it can't guarantee that Florida's ground
water is protected from contamination, even by
the pesticides it approves.
It gets worse. Under the Reagan administra-
tion, the EPA has been accused of relaxing re-
strictions on potentially dangerous chemicals.
Says U.S. Rep. George Brown, D-Calif., "The
Reagan EPA is willing to accept substantially
higher risks (to public health)."
That leaves Florida in a most precarious po-
sition. Although states are allowed to set stric-
ter controls on pesticides than federal law, Flor-
ida has not taken advantage of its authority to
do so. Even if it had, enforcement would be dif-
ficult because of Florida's fractured govern-
ment structure. The Department of Environ-
mental Regulation is responsible for making
sure that the state's underground water sup-
plies are not polluted, while the Department of
Agriculture has the power to approve or ban
THE FLORIDA Legislature should look
to California for a model pesticide control pro-
gram. It has the nation's most restrictive pro-
gram. And California has committed enough
money and staff to the program to make it work
Florida is so far behind that it is frightening
to think what could happen if the Legislature
ignores the problem this year. The power to
ban pesticides that have the potential to pol-
lute water supplies or present public health
hazards should be taken from the Agriculture
Department and given to the Department of
Environmental Regulation. But that won't do
much good if the Legislature fails to give DER
more money and staff to set up an adequate
pesticide control program. Right now, DER
doesn't even have a toxicologist on staff.
If the Legislature doesn't make the right de-
cisions this year, Floridians may have no choice
soon but to buy bottled water
on lake land
KISSIMMEE (AP) Lake Kissimmee iso-
lated. unsioxled and vital to the environment of
t en;rai and South Florida is becoming a legal
battleground between neighboring ranchers and a
The issue is over who owns about 20,000 acres
tnai were dry before a flood-control program was
begun in 1964. The ranchers say they own the land.
sonie of the most fertile in Florida. State officials
say it is lake bottom and belongs to the state.
The outcome could have statewide impact, the
If the Department of Natural Resources wins.
the state could use the same tactic to assume own-
ership of other land surrounding other lakes and
rt crs. they claim. The state is now buying some
of that exposed land under the "Save Our Rivers"
"I ie issue is based on the interpretation of the
phrase "ordinary high-water mark."
Under the flood-control program begun by the
south Florida Water Management District, the
take level never goes higher than 52.5 feet above
sea level, except during periods of extraordinary
But the department says that before the pro-
gr-.an began, the lake went up to 53.75 feet. And the
s'e agency says the 20.000 acres exposed by the
f!ood-control program belong to the state.
The department says it has a responsibility to
protect the land irom excessive development and
er.vronmental damage. for the good of the lake
and those wno use it.
It is a sportsman's lake. and as the second-
largest m the state, it holds vast amounts of water
before sending it to Lake Okeechobee. South Flor-
ida's chief water reservoir.
It also controls the levels of two upland lakes.
presses and Hatchmeha. And environmentalists
s.\ the higher ordinary high-water mark would
permit all three lakes to hold more water to ease
South Florida's water problems during drought.
But ranchers contend that court records show
they own the exposed land. And they have formed
the Chain of Lakes Property Owners Association
to fight the department in court.
--What the state is trying to say is that all of our
la w. and all of our theories of land ownership,
which dale back to English common-law days...
are going to be thrown out the window." the organ-
ization's executive director. Allen Whitston, told
The orlando Sentinel last week.
Ranchers have deeds giving them title to land
parcels called "sectior.s." During rainy periods,
the lake may cover half a section and leave it dry
at other times. But the ranchers still pay property
taxes on the entire section.
The ranchers say that if the state sets a legal
boundary for Lake Kissimmee, it must do the
same for the other water bodies in the Kissimmee
River lake chain, including Lake Tohopekaliga,
which developers are ringing with subdivisions.
"We're not going to be the sacrificial lambs on
this," Whitston says. "If the state takes our land
away, they are going to have to take it way from
the people who own property around Toho, and
that would create the biggest fuss this state has
in U.S. forests
may be sold
TALLAHASSEE (AP) The fed-
eral government has designated
more than 5,000 acres of national for-
est land in Florida for possible sale, a
move that irritates environmental-
"It sounds to me like another typi-
cal emission from the Reagan-Watt-
Burford hierarchy in Washington."
said Charles Lee of the Florida Audu-
"I just think it's bad news all the
way around," added Ellen Winchester
of the Sierra Club in Tallahassee.
The land that might be sold repre-
sents about 0.5 percent of the 1.1 mil-
lion acres of national forest land in
Florida. Nearly half the 5.296 acres
designated for possible sale are in the
Apalachicola National Forest in Le-
on, Franklin. Liberty and Wakulla
The land in the Apalachicola,
Choctawhatchee, Ocala and Osceola
national forests could not be sold
without authorization from Congress,
but the Reagan administration in-
tends to ask for permission to sell a
small fraction of the nation's forests,
mostly scattered patches of land and
areas occupied by tenants with
Temik ban poses large money threat
By Victoria Churchville
or rm SENINEL STAFr
Florida's proposal to ban the
pesticide Temik through 1983 is a
high-stakes move that pits big-
money against concerns about the
chemical's potential to damage
the state's environment.
Millions of dollars are stake for
the only company that manufac-
tures the pesticide, the growers
who rely on it for citrus produc-
tion, and the farm service busi-
nesses, equipment sellers and
pesticide distributors whose live-
lihoods have improved as Temik
use in Florida increased in the
last four years.
Those expected to testify in
Tallahassee at today's public
hearing on the ban range from an
executive for Union Carbide, the
510 billion-a-year conglomerate
whose agricultural products sub-
sidiary makes Temik, to ordinary
people concerned about chemicals
in their food and water.
Sources close to the industry
fear that without Temik, Florida's
frozen orange juice concentrate
business may lose a competitive
edge to Brazil, where Union Car-
bide opened a Temik factory in
1981. Along with two consecutive
years of damaging freezes,
cheaper Brazilian imports are
causing woes for Florida's $2.4
billion citrus industry.
But growers are aware that pu-
rity and wholesomeness are the
foundation of Florida citrus' popu-
larity. They say the temporary
ban, which expires April 18, has
brought an odd sense of relief be-
cause the association between a
toxic chemical and the state's
most famous product also has
been suspended temporarily.
Temik foes are relieved that
Florida's environment and its
farm workers may be safer while
use is prohibited. But they are
outraged at loopholes in state pes-
ticide and water quality regula-
tions that can allow other chemi-
cal contaminations to surface.
Doyle Conner suspended most
uses of the pesticide Jan. 28 after
state chemists detected it in an
Orange county drinking well. To-
day's hearing is on his proposal to
extend the ban for the rest of the
year so scientists can study ways
to use Temik without contaminat-
ing Florida waters or produce.
Conner said he decided to ban
the pesticide "in an overabun-
dance of caution."
The decision may have en-
deared him to environmentalist
while alienating his wealthier
constituency, Florida's agribusi-
ness. Conner has won re-election
seven times, serving 22 years as
"Environmentalists might vote
for Doyle Conner next time, but I
don't know where he's gonna get
the money for his campaign,"
warned a farmer who moonlights
as a pesticide applicator. "It ain't
gonna be from me or other grow-
ers I know."
Many citrus growers are peeved
with the ban but support it pub-
licly. Florida Citrus Mutual, a
13,341-member growers' organi-
zation, resolved to back the ban
in hopes that further study would
allow Temik's future use in small-
er doses in the state, said Bobby
McKown, director of the group.
"We had people on the one side
who wanted to cancel the product
altogether and on the other side,
people who didn't want the ban at
all," he said.
Conner lifted the ban last
month in Flagler, Putnam and St.
Johns countries so potato farmers
could apply Temik to 20,000 acres
during spring planting and avoid
Also exempted are ornamental
plants grown in containers. The
plant industry is the seventh-larg-
est money crop in Florida. Orna-
mental plants are the seventh-
largest money crop in the state,
and about 85 percent are treated
with a Temik formula 'ess potent
than that used on food crops, said
Dr. William Carpenter, chairman
of ornamental horticulture at the
University of Florida.
But while citrus, potato and
other food crop producers must
limit Temik application to once a
year, nurseries can apply it as of-
ten as every four weeks. And the
pesticide has been popular in the
ornamental industry for more
than a dozen years, in contrast to
four years in the citrus industry.
Conner said potted plants re-
ceived an exemption because the
containers are thought to keep
the pesticide residues from spill-
ing into ground water.
Both exemptions to the ban will
be challenged Monday by the Co-
alition Against the Misuse of Pes-
ticides in Florida, an environmen-
tal group pushing for a total, per-
manent ban on the chemical.
"We're not opposing the ex-
tended ban it's a wise and re-
sponsible move, but it doesn't go
far enough," said Cliff Thaell,
spokesman for the coalition.
Union Carbide says the 1983
ban proposal goes too far.
"We believe the ban really isn't
necessary," company spokesman
William Hoerger said. Union Car-
bide only supports restricting Te-
mik use in Florida to beyond a
1,000-foot radius of drinking wa-
ter wells less than 100 feet deep.
Union Carbide won't say how
much Temik sales in Florida are
worth to the company, guarding
that information as trade secrets.
But sources close to the indus-
.try said that in 1982 Union Car-
bide sold more than 5 million
pounds of pure aldicarb, Temik's
chemical ingredient, in Florida.
When the ban was imposed, near-
ly as much already had been sold
to growers and distributors in an-
ticipation of doubling Temik sales
in the state this year.
Aldicarb sells for 51.96 a pound
in a 10 percent formula and for
$2.50 a pound in 15 percent for-
mula. Using the source's figures,
then, Union Carbide's 1982'com-
mercial sales grossed an estimat-
ed $67.5 million to $98 million.
Atlanta firms fight battle of Triana
Spoils of legal war in Alabama total $5 million for winners
By Tracy Thompson
When Triana, Ala., won $24 million from
the Olin Corp. last December, it was not just
the victory of a small north Alabama town
over a giant chemical company that had pol-
luted Triana's creek with DDT for years.
It was also a battle that pitted two
prestigious Atlanta law firms against each
other Kilpatrick and Cody versus Hansell
The winner: Kilpatrick and Cody. The
prize: $5 million.
li, ft51nn~n anitmnl AND CNSTITITTION
The two law firms are among Atlanta's
top five. Ensconced at the top of the Equita-
ble Building, the 115-lawyer firm of Kilpat-
rick and Cody boasts a lobby with a breath-
taking view of downtown skyscrapers,
thousands of dollars of paintings and metal
sculpture, and a dramatic spiral staircase
leading to offices of the firm's senior part-
Olin Corp., on the other hand, went look-
ing for a law firm with an impressive record
of winning cases on appeal, said company
spokesman Charlie Dana. They found it in the
103-lawyer firm of Hansell Post, just blocks
SUNDAY, MARCH 27, 1983 ..
away from Kilpatrick and Cody in an equally
plush suite in the First National Bank Tower.
Partners in both firms charge $120 an
hour and up for their expertise and advice.
Their luxurious offices seem very distant
from the poor and predominantly black town
of Triana, where approximately 40 percent of
the town's 1,200 residents are unemployed.
Triana's legal saga began three years ago
with a visit by Triana Mayor Clyde Foster to
the office of Huntsville, Ala., lawyer Carl
The year before, tests had revealed that
Triana's residents had the highest level of
DDT exposure ever recorded among nonindus-
trial workers the result of eating fish
caught in nearby Indian Creek. The fish were
heavily laced with the deadly pesticide DDT,
dumped upstream by a now-abandoned Olin'
Triana's residents had decided to sue
Olin, but Foster did not think Morring's small'
law firm could afford to handle the massive
case alone. He asked Morring to enlist the aid
: of a big-name law firm, prefer-
i6l1y one from outside Alabama.
'Morring called an old law school
:Oiend, Kilpatrick and Cody partner
:Albert Tate, and offered what
amounted to a multimillion-dollar
: gamble: a personal injury lawsuit
.:with 1,200 plaintiffs and the
Chance that if Triana lost, the law-
.yers representing the town wouldn't
:.collect a penny.
Many lawyers take personal injury
:lawsuits with similar agreements.
: Morring said, though few cases in-
volve so many plaintiffs or so much
Money. But Triana "couldn't have
pursued the matter if it hadn't been
on a contingency basis. There would
have been no wav."
CHIY HYL ItIAY/Staf
WINNERS: Gall Joyner (from left), Bob Shields, Leslie Bryan, Joseph Gallman Steve Clay, Debbie Brian.
u l -- ~~r- ---~ ---- --- ---
ST. PETERSBURG TIMES o inion
"The policy of our paper is very simple merely to tell the truth."
Paul Poynter, 1875-1950 Nelson Poynter, 1903-1978
The septic tank threat
If state officials knew that something was
contaminating Florida's drinking water, most
reasonable people would expect them to deal
with the problem. But they aren't. It's hard to
believe, but true.
Flora Mae Wellings, director of the Epide-
miology Research Center for the state Depart-
ment of Health and Rehabilitative Services
(HRS), is convinced that viruses are con-
taminating Florida's drinking water. She
blames septic tanks. And she's worried about
the health hazard because, she says, nothing is
being done about it.
"With all the controls that are going on in
this fine state of ours," she laments, "septic
tanks have slipped through the crack."
WELLINGS DISCOVERED the prob-
lem in 1975 when she investigated an outbreak
of hepatitis in a migrant labor camp in Home-
stead. The workers drank from six wells at the
plant, five of which were in an area surrounded
by septic tanks. The water was properly
chlorinated so that the bacteria were killed, but
One hundred different viruses can be found
in human wastes, and they can cause com-
plaints from simple upset stomach to hepatitis.
There has been little research on the effects of
viruses in drinking water, but it is known that
they can remain in water for months and still
be active when they reach humans. Despite the
hazard, HRS does not monitor viruses in drink-
"I run into a lot of people who don't believe
that anything is wrong with septic tanks," Wel-
lings says. "But then why did we go to sewage
treatment systems? Why? Because there was
Florida's run-away growth exacerbates the
problem. The state simply has grown faster
than its sewer lines. More than $2-billion is
needed over the next four years to build enough
waste-water treatment plants to catch up with
the number of people moving to Florida. Since
the state Department of Envirobamatal Regu-
lation has imposed sewer connecion mora-
toriums in more than 120 communities, septic
tanks are the only alternative.
Instead of restricting the use of septic tanks,
the Florida Legislature has made the problem
worse by encouraging their use. Ten years ago,
only one septic tank was allowed on an acre of
land. But the Legislature, always eager to
please developers, has eased thoe restrictions
over the years. Current state law allows each
quarter-acre residential lot to have its own sep-
tic tank systems. And it gets worse. Developers
have discovered an apparent loophole in the
law that allows as many as 16 lving units per
acre to be connected to septic tanks.
WHEN THE MEMBERS of the Legis-
lature meet this year, they should ask them-
selves what is more important .- protecting the
quality of the state's drinking water or catering
to special interests. At the very leat, the Legis-
lature should close the loophole in the septic
tank law. Better still, it should put much great-
er limitations on the use of septic tanks. And,
HRS should set up a virus-monitoring pro-
There are at least 1.4-million septic tanks in
Florida, more than any other state except New
York and Pennsylvania. As rapidly as Florida is
growing, another 50,000 septic tanks will be in-
stalled next year unless the Legislature de-
creases the number of tanks allowed per acre
and appropriates more money to build waste-
water treatment plants.
Protecting a resource as vital as drinking
water has to take top priority in the manage-
ment of Florida's growth. What could be more
By Victoria Churchville
OF THE SENTINEL STAFF
Florida's experience with the
pesticide Temik has underscored
governmental ignorance of poten-
Temik ban... Page 8-4
tial health and environmental
problems posed by toxic agricul-
tural chemicals, says a study by
an independent scientist.
Temik is "only the tip of a
chemical iceberg of problems pre-
sented by pesticides as toxic sub-
stances," said Florida State Uni-
versity biologist Dr. Robert
Livingston's study is the first
independent, scientific review of
Temik's environmental and hu-
man health consequences in
Earlier information on how the
pesticide acts in the state was
limited to public relations bro-
chures published by Union Car-
bide Agricultural Products, Te-
Livingston's conclusions on Te-
mik will be presented today at a
public meeting in Tallahass
called to discuss a state propoi
to ban Temik use through the e
of the year.
State Agriculture Commissi
er Doyle Conner proposed the b
so scientists can study ways
prevent water pollution found
some Northern states where
mik has been used.
Union Carbide maintains tl
Temik traces found by sta
chemists in Florida drinking a
ground water pose no threat.
Livingston said the pestici
should be outlawed in Flori
"until it is proven, through obj
tive, scientific research, that
will not present a serious thr
to human health and environm
A former member of the t
Environmental Protection Ag
cy's Science Advisory Board, I
ingston has studied and writ
about the environmental a
health effects of toxic chemic
for 20 years.
In the 1970s, he was appoin
by then-Gov. Claude Kirk to he
a blue-ribbon panel studying
pesticide Mirex. As a result of
committee's report, Conner withdrew
multimillion-dollar federal fire-ant er
gram to spray nine southern states wit
/ Livingston also wrote a National Ac
ences report on Mirex and a related
pone. Both pesticides were banned in
because of their toxicity and persi
"I'm not against pesticides, by the
lieve they should be used responsible
said. "The whole system of pesticide
needs to be overhauled."
More than 9,000 pesticide formulas
tinely by homeowners and the state m
lar agriculture industry.
"The way pesticides are registered
to mistakes," he said. "We need mor
before they're used and while they
of state public health
vironmental agencies and objective
tists, of which there are many in
Backed by the university, Livingston wrote the Te-
mik report at the request of the state Association of --
Migrant Organizations, a coalition of 16 farm worker
service groups. He was not paid for his work.
Central to the lack of governmental knowledge is
the pesticide registration process that EPA uses to
approve as safe chemicals such as Temik, he said.
Under the system, federal regulators rely almost en-
tirely on information generated by pesticide manu-
Florida officials, in turn, accept EPA decisions on
which pesticides are safe without studying how such
chemicals might react under the state's unusual en-
vironmental conditions, the study says. But EPA
does not always share its information with states.
ee "In 1980 EPA had information that Temik was
sal contaminating Florida ground water but they never
on- informed DER (the state Department of Environ.
lan mental Regulation) about their findings," Livingston
in After media reports last August that Temik had
re- contaminated water in. other states, Florida began
testing for and finding traces of the chemical
hat in underground water supplies.
tte In January, two EPA officials flew to Florida to
nd tell state authorities that despite federal labels ap-
proving Temik and other pesticides, the federal gov.
de ernment cannot guarantee that ground water will be
da protected against pesticide pollution.
ec- States tests earlier this year showing Temik in
it four drinking water wells in Central Florida prompt-
eat ed Conner to ban most uses of Temik through 1983.
en- That decision is being challenged by Harold Brown,
a citrus grower and custom pesticide applicator
1.S. from Fort Pierce.
en- But Florida's ongoing program to monitor water
lv- and produce for Temik residues may be ineffective,
ten Livingston said, because once a pesticide is intro-
nd duced to the Florida market, state officials don't
als keep track of its use.
"Until the state devotes more resources to pesti-
ted cides, we'll go from crisis to crisis," he said. "In the
sad meantime, people will be dealing with anxiety 'Is
the what I'm eating and drinking safe?'"
the Livingston gave higher marks to Temik than to
Mirex and Kepone.
*Temik in some ways is very good. Under some
conditions it does break down. It does not accumu-
late in animals and people," he said. "And there's no
evidence that it causes cancer, genetic defects or
Florida from a "The bad side is that it's very toxic and is persist-
adication pro- ing in New York, Wisconsin, Maine and other states
Ah Mirex. and now, in Florida," he said. "When it does break
academy of Sci. down, it breaks down into residues that are equally
pesticide, Ke- toxic.
the late 1970s "When you look at that information it's difficult to
stence in the reconcile what Union Carbide said it would do and
what it's actually doing in Florida. The big question
way, I just be is why is it persisting when it's supposed to be
y," Livingston breaking down."
use in Florida
are used rou-
and used leads
're being used
the state of
0~ ai4~ ~4b
A water expert says end is near and he's speaking of pollution
By ROBERT BARNES
s1. Pi .bu si rlimes Stf Writel
Jay Lehr, a national expert on drinking
-water and underground water resources,
says the end is near.
He's talking about pollution.
SLehr, executive director of the National
Water Well Association, for years has been
calling for more recognition of ground wa-
ter as a natural resource and decrying what
he called its "thoughtless pollution."
So when he spoke at a seminar on
- around water and hazardous waste pollu-
tion, sponsored by the Florida State
University Public Interest Research Group,
his listeners were expecting a classic
gloom-and-doom discourse on ground wa-
They got the opposite.
"We are not in a 'Chicken-Little, the-
sky-is-falling situation,' Lehr said. "We
can have it all fixed by the end of the
LEHR'S UPBEAT outlook isn't
shared by Florida officials, who lately have
been overcome by the discovery of hazard-
ous wastes, pesticides and viruses in the
ground water that 92 percent of the state's
population depends upon for its drinking
But Lehr, a Princeton graduate who
received the nation's first doctorate in
ground water hydrology from the Univer-
saty of Arizona, said that by 1990, "we will
be cleaning up more ground water than
"I'm really quite optimistic."
His optimism is based on three things:
the vast availability of ground water, the
realization by society that it is a valuable
resource, and the development of technol-
ogy to clean it up.
Lehr admits that there is polluted
ground water "in 7r percent of the counties
around the country." But because under-
ground water supplies are so vast, he says
that amounts to less than one percent of
the Earth's ground water supplies.
IT HAS BEEN estimated that there
are more than 50-quadrillion gallons of
fresh water within a half-mile of the Earth's
surface. That is more than four times the
volume of the Great Lakes.
Lehr also is enthusiastic about federal
and state laws that provide protection for
ground water. At least five pieces of federal
legislation can be used to prevent pollution,
Lehr said, and states are beginning to de-
sign their own protection strategies for
"The laws are there," he said. "It takes
a long time to implement them, but I think
in the next seven years everything will be in
place and new sites won't be developed."
TIE EMPHASIS then will shift to
cleanup. While Florida has had limited ex-
perience with cleaning ground water con-
tamination sites, Lehr said technology is
advancing so that the pollutants can be
more easily contained.
And he said that there are numerous
methods being developed to withdraw the
water and cleanse it. Many of the most
dangerous chemicals can be-removed sim-
ply by exposing the contaminated water to
air, he said.
"There really is no need for the crises we
read about in the newspapers," Lehr said.
"We can control the problem."
A chemist's puttering led to lucky discovery
of unsuspected water problem in Vero Beach
By ROBERT BARNES
aL P.t..r bw Tlms Setaf Wtllo
VERO BEACH The citizens of Vero Beach got lucky.
Dr. Teen Wang, a chemist for the marine laboratory of
Harbor Branch Foundation, was puttering around in his
laboratory one day in 1978 when he decided to test his tap
He found something that Vero Beach water officials had
never thought to look for traces of trichloroethylene
(TCE), a chemical compound that is suspected of causing
"He sent us a letter and said we had trichloroethylene in
our water," says Vero Beach laboratory supervisor John R.
Ten Eyck. "He said he thought we ought to know."
Vero Beach set out to clean it up. The project, one of the
first and one of the few ground water contamination
cleanup conducted in Florida, may serve as a guide to
other places around the state that have ground water sup-
plies contaminated by chemicals.
THE BOTTOM LINE is this: While it took only
weeks to find the problem, it was more than two years be-
fore the city received the necessary permits to begin the
cleanup. And after nearly two more years of pumping out
the poisoned water, the chemical remains.
When Wang alerted Vero Beach officials to the problem
he had found, they immediately went to work to find where
it was coming from. They isolated water coming into the
plant until they traced the contamination to Well 15, one of
the city's most productive water producers. It pumped
more than 1-million gallons a day.
The well,'which drew water from about 120 feet below
the ground, was adjacent to a canal, and water officials
suspected that chemicals illegally dumped there were
probably the cause of the problem, Ten Eyck says.
But the tests came back negative and officials moved to
the next suspect. "When you stand at the well and look
across the street, you see Piper Aircraft," Ten Eyck says. "It
wasn't that hard to decide where to look next."
TCE is a synthetically produced substance that is used
extensively in the United States in industrial solvents. Pi-
per, for instance, used the solvent to clean grease and dirt
from airplanes before they were painted.
S. Petosbw.g Tiu..
The compound can travel quickly through porous soil
and contaminate ground water, and traces of TCE are being
found in drinking water systems throughout the country.
THE HEALTH EFFECTS of the chemical have not
been adequately studied, but initial reports show problems
in test animals related to liver and kidney damage. Addi-
tional tests indicate it may have the potential to cause birth
defects and cancer.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has not
-set standards for how much TCE can be consumed in
drinking water before it becomes a health hazard. "We have
to assume that the number we should shoot for is zero," says
What officials found in the initial report is that there
were 68 parts per billion of TCE in the water. Subsequent
tests of ground water near the well showed up to 900 parts
The well was immediately shut down.
Officials don't know how much TCE was spilled before
the problem was discovered, or how long the people of Vero
Beach drank the water. "We think we found the problem
pretty soon because the contamination had not spread that
far," Ten Eyck says.
The TCE had leaked into the ground from an under-
ground storage tank on Piper's property. The company, the
biggest employer in Vero Beach, drained and removed the
tank. and offered to const ruct a well adjacent to the tank to
pump out the contaminated water.
THE QUESTION THEN became what to do with
TCE is part of a group of substances called volatile
organic chemicals. While they can be dangerous in water
and can exist there for long periods of time, they dissipate
quickly when exposed to air. The plan was to pump the
water up, spray it through the air to remove the TCE, and
then dispose of the water through a canal that eventually
leads to the Indian River.
It took two years before the EPA and the state Depart-
ment of Environmental Regulation agreed to the plans.
"There were legitimate concerns," says Ten Eyck, about
releasing the TCE into the air, though tests have shown the
amount released to be below what is allowed.
"It shouldn't have taken two years."
The project finally began in April of 1981. The con-
taminated water is pumped from the ground at a rate of
about 200,000 gallons a day. The water is sent to the canal
via a six-inch pipe. The pipe crosses above the canal and is
studded with six spray nozzles. By the time the water
reaches the canal, 10 feet below, 90 percent of the TCE has
dissipated into the air, Ten Eyck says.
More is released as the water flows over several spill-
ways, he says, and eventually it is diluted until it is no lon-
PIPER IS PICKING UP the tab, though company
officials refuse to say how much the project has cost so far.
"We feel like we've done the right thing, but we don't want
to talk anymore about it," says a Piper spokesman.
The project illustrates how a relatively small chemical
spill can poison a vast amount of water. Ten Eyck says that
of the millions of gallons of water that have been pumped
from the site over the past two years, the amount of TCE
removed is only about 500 gallons.
Although Vero Beach officials declare the project a
success, they don't know when if ever they will be able
to use Well 15 again. Since the TCE discovery, they have
found vinyl chloride a suspected carcinogen and other
chemicals in the water.
"Our biggest concern, then and now, is whether we're
going to have any more wells contaminated, Ten Eyck
says. "Because it (the solvent) is still in the ground."
Water finally gets
some action after
years of talking
By ROBERT BARNES
st. PFsorurl Timne Stan writer
For years, the Legislature has talked about water. And
talked. And talked.
This year, the Speaker of the House appointed a task force
to study the state's water resources, and has backed up its
members by endorsing legislative changes they requested and
proposing new taxes to pay for them.
On the Senate side, special subcommittees are studying how
to protect the state's
supplies and recom-
BI's mending ways to
dispose of the state's
'pI What has hap-
This i the ltst in a would turn on the
series of reports tap and the water
on the quality of would be fine," says
Florida's water. House Natural Re-
Chairman Jon Mills, D-Gaineaville. "But we've seen instances
where that's not true anymore. It's no longer a hypothetical is-
Adds Department of Environmental Regulation (DER)
Secretary Victoria Tschinkel: "I can point out to every legislator
where they have a problem in their district."
With the Legislature set to convene on April 5, almost every
law regarding how Florida protects its water seems fair game for
change, and legislators seem ready to put tougher restrictions on
hazardous wastes, pesticides, septic tanks and other threats to
the state's drinking water supplies.
Bill Sadowski, the former Miami representative picked by
Speaker II. Lee Moffitt, I) Tampa, to head the water task force,
Some task force
V More money end personnel to IdonMy and r-
store uncontrolad hazrdous waste elt. Money
should come from new tax on chemicals and pest-
V Her tte As on a mt wate poadl.
W Action by legislature to l(cilMtatsbulling t h-
ardous waste depoal haciitn.
W Involvment of local govwernments in Identifying
coanpa that produce hazardous waste.
Underground storage tanks
V Inviting DIR with control over cones
standards. permtting, maintence and Inpeion
of undwground tanks that hold gasoline, oil ad In-
Sewage plants end p ptio tanks
w Joint study by DER and HS on w.6nd wtar
pollution rom sp tanks end viral cianlnto.
W Lmiting septic taw construction one par are
in place where people dnk troi private well.
V Alocation by the state of at leaet $6nmalon
per yew for the net five years to help local goven-
ments build swaeg treatment plants.
V Investing DER with autherly to restrict use of
peeticldae it belive prIeani health hoad through
ground water cntaminaton.
W Provision for adequate monitoring of peeidd'
impact on ground and aurfac watr.
Ground water monltorlng
VAlocating adequate funds tor DER to abah
comprehensive monitoring stysten for state's water
st Pr....rbu. rn.. minlA BARI OW
says he and his colleagues were shocked by the lack of in-
formation available about Florida's water supply and the
problems facing it.
"The kind of consensus we reached on the task force was
as strong and convinced as any I've ever seen," Sadowski
says. "When others in the Legislature become knowledge-
able about these issues, I think they will agree with the
recommendations of the task force that water should be
elevated to the levels of importance of education and hu-
"It's an emergency situation."
Former Senate President Phil Lewis, another task force
member, says that the Legislature needs to change the way
it has viewed water issues.
SPECIFICALLY, the task force felt that the Legis-
lature has ignored protection of the state's underground
water resources, upon which nine out of every 10 Floridians
depend for their drinking water.
Legislators have created regional authorities to promote
water conservation, govern water use and settle squabbles
over water supply. And though the Pinellas County Com-
mission has decided it will spend about $50,000 to hire a
former Supreme Court justice and the former DER chief to
lobby for a statewide water board to settle such issues,
many legislators don't believe that is where the attention
will be this year.
"The emphasis that I hope they (legislators) will glean
from the report is to move away from quantity issues and
concentrate on quality," Lewis says. "People need to realize
that we've got, potentially, a very dangerous situation on
Here are some of the problems facing Florida's drinking
water, and some of the recommendations that the task force
made to solve them:
The task force believes the potential contamination
of ground water by hazardous waste is the single most
urgent issue facing the state in the protection of its water
Florida's hazardous waste problems can't be denied.
SThe state placed 25 sites on the federal Superfund list,
a compendium of 418 of the nation's worst hazardous waste
sites. Only four states, all highly industrialized, had mote.
Florida has so many sites on the list not only because the
pollution is so serious, but also because it poses such a
threat to drinking water supplies. And the Superfund list
shows only part of the problem.
The DER estimates there are 200 uncontrolled hazard-
ous waste sites scattered around the state. And that's only
the ones that are known. Ileports of new ones come in faster
than Ihe state's six field inspectors can investigate..
4 has endorsed an
Increase in the tax
\ on legal
-h. documents that
S" I would raise
$50-million a year
to help local
in addition, state officials have precious little informa-
tion on the thousands of tons of hazardous wastes produced
in Florida, or in what manner they are disposed. There is
not even a complete survey of which companies produce
ATTEMPTS TO PROVIDE money for the cleanup
of the hazardous waste sites and to actually get the work
started have been largely unsuccessful. Only two of the
Superfund sites have even received money for a study of
how they should be cleaned up, and a third site was re-
claimed only because local government took the initiative.
The Superfund is the target of numerous investigations
these days. but even if the federal government came
through with the money, the state has only enough in its
Hazardous Waste Trust Fund a little more than $400.000
to clean up just one site. The tax that provides this
money has taken in less than it costs to administer it.
"I;m fairly convinced that everybody (in the Legis-
lature) is concerned about toxic and hazardous wastes,"
says Lewis. "That's one thing that nobody can ignore."
The task force recommended, and House Speaker
Moffitt tentatively endorsed, combining the hazardous
waste trust fund with money set aside for cleaning up oil
spills. They would supplement the fund by taxing pesti-
cides and chemicals shipped into the state for sale, a move
that is expected to raise about $13-million.
In addition, the House plans call for $6-million over the
next two years to be placed in an emergency fund for the
THE TASK FORCE also would raise from 3 percent
to 5 percent the taxes that hazardous waste producers must
pay on disposal of their wastes. To make sure that all pro-
ducers are identified, the change would include producers
who generate only small amounts of wastes (they now are
exempt from the law) and give local governments both the
tax revenue and the burden of locating the producers.
A controversial and some environmental experts say
critical change would allow a statewide authority to in-
tervene when companies that want to build hazardous
waste disposal or transfer facilities are denied zoning
permits from local governments.
The reasoning is that the construction of such facilities
is vital enough that the state has an interest in overriding
local complaints from citizens who don't want such facili-
ties in their back yards.
Currently there are no off-site disposal facilities in the
state, and only one transfer station. That means the cost
of transporting hazardous wastes out of state is prohibitive
for many smaller firms and officials believe it is one reason
for the illegal dumping that are being found throughout
But any attempt to diminish local control over such
zoning issues is fought furiously in the Legislature, and
local officials were successful last year in defeating similar
Sen. Pat Neal, chairman of the Senate Natural Re-
sources Committee, doesn't believe taking away that local
control is "do-able." He has appointed a special subcom-
mittee, which meets today, to come up with another alter-
Underground storage tanks
These tanks often deteriorate because of the general-
ly acidic nature of the soil and may pose a serious threat
to the ground water.
There are 40,000 underground storage tanks under the
state's service stations alone, and thousands of others at
industrial sites throughout the state.
Many of them are rusting and leaking, spilling gasoline
and harmful chemicals into the water that people drink.
Belleview, a town near Ocala, had to shut down its entire
Drinking water system last fall when a gasoline leak from
a service station contaminated the town's wells.
It is a national problem, but officials say the potential
for serious problems is greater in Florida because many of
the tanks are buried in the water table. And health officials
say one gallon of gasoline can render 1-million gallons of
Still, there is no state law that restricts how the tanks
must be built or regulates where they may be constructed.
DER officials say they have jurisdiction over the tanks only
after a leak has caused a pollution problem.
The task force calls for giving the DER the authority "to
regulate underground gasoline storage tanks, including
construction standards, permitting of new tanks and
maintenance and inspection standards."
Sewage treatment and septic tanks
There is a danger that the ground water from which
Floridians derive ... their drinking water is being con-
taminated by viruses and bacteria from sewage.
About 4-million Floridians are using septic tanks, and
the number is increasing. State officials estimate that
50,000 tanks will be installed this year.
But there are concerns that the tanks are not properly
disposing of the wastes and that bacteria and viruses are
contaminating the water that people drink.
Still, the Legislature in recent years has relaxed re-
strictions on septic tank construction. Ten years ago, the
law allowed only one septic tank per acre; now, developers
are putting as many as 16 townhouses on an acre of land and
connecting them all to septic tanks.
Part of the reason that builders are relying more on
septic tanks and on small, independent treatment plants
7 can point out to
where they have a
problem in their
- Victoria Tschinkel,
called package plants, is because Florida is growing faster
than its sewer lines.
It is estimated that the state's growth will demand more
than S1.3-billion over the next five years for municipal
sewage treatment plant construction.
THE TASK FORCE recommendations will not
please either the construction or the septic tank industries.
They call for restricting septic tank to one per acre in places
were people receive their drinking water from private wells
on the property, and to two per acre when water is available
from a public system.
Both industries already have begun to fight the recom-
mendation, saying that it would cost construction jobs and
shut down the construction industry in those places where
sewers are not available.
Moffitt also has endorsed an increase in the tax on legal
documents such as house mortgages that would raise
$50-million each year. The money would go to help local
governments build sewage treatment plants.
There also should be a comprehensive study of viral
contamination of water, the task force said, and perhaps
additional requirements that treatment plants eliminate
There is an urgent need for adequate monitoring and
data analysis to determine the impact of pesticides on
surface and ground water.
There are nearly 10,000 brands of pesticides, herbicides,
insecticides, fungicides and rodenticides registered for use
in Florida. National experts say Florida ranks only behind
California and Texas in pesticide use.
But information about whether or not they are con-
taminating the state's water supplies is virtually non-
That is because while state agricultural officials test
fruit and vegetables for pesticide residue, no one checks the
water. And what little information does exist is produced
almost exclusively by the companies that make the pesti-
State officials have been shown graphically, however,
that sometimes the company's data cannot be solely relied
Union Carbide, the manufacturer of the toxic pesticide
Temik, told state officials that the pesticide would not
contaminate the state's ground water if it was used properly
on crops ranging from oranges to potatoes.
But subsequent state tests, conducted after the news
media reported about ground water contamination by
Temik in New York and other states, showed that traces of
the pesticide were in Florida's ground water.
WHEN TEMIK WAS found in a drinking water
well, Agricultural Commissioner Doyle Conner suspended
use of the pesticide on all crops except potatoes, where it is
used in small amounts, and ornamental plants. Farmers,
who praise Temik for its destructive powers and its ability
to increase fruit yields, are trying to have Conner's 1983 ban
But the Temik problems have shown some state officials
that they can't rely simply on the Environmental Protec-
tion Agency's stamp of approval to guarantee that a pesti-
cide can be used safely in Florida. Indeed, EPA officials
have admitted as much.
The task force said that the DER, not the Department
of Agriculture, should have the power to outlaw certain
pesticides when it believes they present a ground water
contamination problem. Although House leaders have
tentatively endorsed such a proposal, Moffitt calls it "just
the first step in the legislative process."
Conner opposes such a move, and there is sure to be a
donnybrook between environmentalist and the powerful
agricultural industry over the proposal.
Rodney DeHan, chief of the DER's ground water divi-
sion, thinks his department should have that power, but he
says the state has a long way to go before it can make de-
cisions about pesticide use in the state.
First, DeHan says the state needs to know which pesti-
cides are being used, in what amounts and where.
Currently, the information doesn't exist. The data need to
be combined with the hydrological conditions in the area.
Then the state can decide which pesucaaes present me
greatest potential dangers, and tests under those conditions
can be conducted.
The task force also wants the EPA to help Florida offi-
cials decide which pesticides present the greatest ground
water contamination potential.
Money and authority
No other single issue was more apparent to the task
force than the lack of adequate funding and manpower for
the DER to implement and enforce its existing programs
to protect the quality of Florida's water.
Last year, environmental programs in Florida received
only 1.4 percent of the state's budget. The state gave the
DER about $20-million, and the federal government
chipped in another $5-million.
DER Secretary Tschinkel says it is simply not enough
money for her department to do its job.
The DER doesn't have a toxicologist on its staff. It has
only six field inspectors to investigate hazardous waste
sites. Its ground water division, responsible for protecting
the water that almost all of Florida drinks, was formed just
several years ago.
'The kind of
reached on the
task force was as
I've ever seen .
It's an emergency
Rep. Bill Sadowski
DeHan says that before the DER can set out to protect
the ground water, it must have more information about the
state's aquifers and the amounts of pollution already there.
That will require drilling wells, testing and then a system of
monitoring the water for changes.
The task force recommended that the responsibility for
drinking water remain with the DER. And Moffitt says that
She is not sold on the idea, pushed mainly by Pinellas County
Commissioner Charles Rainey, that a statewide water
board is needed. He said he will ask the task force for its
opinion on that.
BUT THE TASK FORCE did agree that the DER
and local water systems could do a better job making sure
that drinking water is safe. Specifically, it said that testing
must be done more frequently, and that the tests should
cover more pollutants than now are detected.
Now, many public water systems are tested only for the
limited list of chemicals and pesticides on the federal Safe
Drinking Water Act requirements. On that list are only
eight of the 129 substances identified by the EPA as
"What is so scary about it all is that we have such lim-
ited requirements" says task force member Richard Petti-
grew. "The chemicals that we should be concerned about,
we're not even testing for."
The task force says that to adequately carry out all of its
recommendations, the DER's budget must be increase to
about 570-million next year and that funding should con-
tinue at that level.
Loophole may aid Temirn
Legal delays could open path for pesticide's use
By Victoria Churchville
CF T-E SENTrNEL STAFF
A technicality in Florida law
may punch a hole in a proposed
yearlong Temik ban, creating a
gap that would give citrus grow-
ers an opportunity to use the
The Cabinet may move to close
a possible open season on Temik
use. The possibility is raised by
delays from a legal challenge to
the extended ban. That challenge
may not be resolved before a tem-
porary ban on most uses expires
Harold Brown, a Fort Pierce cit-
rus grower and custom pesticide
applicator, is challenging Agricul-
ture Commissioner Doyle Con-
ner's proposal to ban Temik use
on citrus, soybeans and peanuts
statewide through the end of the
Using emergency powers, Con-
ner has suspended its use tempo-
That ban is likely to expire be-
fore Brown has exhausted all the
legal ways to
oppose Con- .
ner, unless 3
exempts the .
ban proposal -
posed year- Conner
long ban will be discussed Mon-
day at a public hearing with Con-
ner in Tallahassee.
Department of Agriculture and
Consumer Services officials say
they are confident that both of
Conner's actions will be upheld
under the state review process.
"I'm really not concerned about
the validity of the rule as long as
we've got our i's dotted and our
t's crossed," said Frank Graham,
the agriculture attorney charged
with defending the Temik ban.
"Let's face it, when you've got
the state health officer, the guy
who heads up groundwater purity
in the state, and the head of ar.:-
cultural research in the state all
testifying that Temik poses a
threat, I just can't see a hearing
officer overriding the advice of all
those people," he said.
"It's the time that worries me."
Brown's right to attack Con-
ner's proposals is likely to cause
enough delays to make Temik ap-
plication legal for a while.
Temik could come out from un-
der the ban for as brief a period
as a few weeks or as long as sev.
Whatever the length of the gap.
it would come next month at the
height of the spring pesticide ap-
plying season. If citrus growers
took the opportunity to apply Te-
mik, which would be legal, state
officials fear the purpose of the
suspension would be defeated.
Temik is buried in granules in
soil near the roots of plants. Wa-
ter activates the pesticide's
chemical ingredient, aldicarb.
Plants suck it through the root
system and distribute aldicarb,
along with "nurierts, throughout
But Temik residuals that remain in "he soil can
make their way to ground water. Some :rcas of :he
pesticide also can survive in fruits :- :egetaab.es pro-
duced by the plant.
State tests, triggered last August by media reports
of water pollution problems cause by" Temlk :n other
states, have documented that the chem:ca; was not
disappearing from Florida's ground water and drink-
ing water as its manufacturer, Union Carbide Agri-
cultural Products Inc., said it would.
Only minute traces of the chemical have shown up
in citrus fruit.
When residues of the pesticide were found in a
west Orange County family's drinking water well
"THE NATURAL rate of flow is two to
:.ree feet a day." says Brant. "You can put
s.nietn'.l in the ground water a half-mile away
ana vouil be drinking it before you know it."
That is what separates Dade County from
other trouble spots around the state.
"You can look at the Superfund list and see
:hat the problems are concentrated Pen-
;ac'oi,. Jacksonville. Tampa, Miami," says
Hurchaila. "The difference is that in Miami it is
so much easier for these things to get into the
In the late 1970s, the U.S. Environmental
?:otection Agency EPA) began to look for tri-
-alomethanes (THMs) in drinking water. The
suspected cancer-causing compounds are
frmred when chlorine, added to water to control
bacteria. combines with chemicals already in the
In the 80 cities surveyed, Miami came in
:'rst. Researchers found 311 parts per billion.
three times as much as the EPA later decided
.Aas sale in drinking water.
But the TH.M study only confirmed worries
:hat :here were chemicals in the Biscayne
aqu;ier :hat should not be there.
Im Bauch. an environmental consultant
who used to work for the DER. recalled at a
e.;nar about the aquifer :hat a well serving the
o::. f North Miami Beach had been con-
An investigation showed that the well water
contained d chromium and mercury. 40 synthetic
r:anic compounds and the four types of tri-
haiomethanes. While the Metro-Dade Depart-
ment of Environmental Resources Management
said that four companies in the area were the
likely sources, the report also identified 142
other companies as potential sources of tne
BAUCH POINTED out that several
years ago more than 80 percent of the South
Florida water supplies tested exceeded the
federal trihalomethane limits and that more
than half showed traces of synthetic chemicals.
He summed up his presentation this way: "I
don't expect to be a6le to drink water from the
tap again in my lifetime."
Not everyone feels that way. South Florida
water officials point out that their water meets
all the requirements of the federal Safe Drink-
ing Water Act. And former state representative
Bill Sadowski, a Miami lawyer who was chair-
man of the state water task force, says he doesn't
believe that the problems are as bad as some
think. "If we had a major problem, then I think
we would have witnessed major health prob-
lems." Sadowski says.
However, Sadowski, who says he and his
family drink bottled water, admits that the
"threat for that kind of event is real." And he
agrees that part of the problem in judging the
threat of contaminated drinking water is that
the health effects of the contamination may not
be apparent for years.
Contamination from some industries comes
in the form of organic, often exotic chemicals,
about which little is known in terms of health
effects. As a result, federal drinking water
standards, for the most part, don't cover them.
"What is so scary about it all is that we have
such limited requirements." says Pettigrew.
"The chemicals that we should be concerned
about, we're not even testing for."
But while Dade County has a lot of prob-
lems. officials there have moved ahead of their
counterparts throughout the state including
Pinellas County in protecting their drinking
water supplies. They have either passed or are
considering rules that would put tough re-
strictions on everything from septic tanks to
hazardous waste haulers. Among the rules either
proposed or enacted are:
Requirements that underground storage
tanks for gasoline and industrial solvents are
made of materials that won't rust and leak and
that they be placed away from drinking water
wells. There are also additional testing require-
ments to make sure they are not leaking.
Tougher restrictions on the use of septic
tanks, limiting their use and keeping them away
from drinking water sources.
1" Licensing of hazardous-waste haulers in
an attempt to get a better idea of where haz-
ardous wastes are produced in the county, and
the places and manner in which they are dis-
AND DADE officials have moved to pro-
tect' the areas around the county's public
drinking water wells. They have passed a
"210-day ordinance," which restricts discharges
of certain pollutants into areas close enough
that the pollutants would reach the wells within
210 days. The theory one that even Dade of-
ficials have admitted is suspect is that the
problem chemicals would be either diluted or
harmless by the time they reached the well.
An 'easy' choice
Most water experts agree: Dade County takes the cake
for the state's most dangerous aquifer pollution
By ROBERT BARNES
St. Petrsrburg Times Staff Wrter
MIAMI Ask the experts where the
threat of dangerous drinking water is the
-.ost severe. and most of them don't have
to :h:ni long.
"It's easy." says Martin County Com-
missioner Maggy Hurchalla. who serves
on a statewide water task force. "Dade
Says Terry Cole. assistant secretary of
:he state Department of Environmental
'I's, ure the people down there won't
like ;o near me say this, but I would not
wan: :o drink the water in Dade County
:or i greatt length of time."
The water in Dade County is clear.
: ;:e4.Cs. odorless. For the most part, I;
=:eets federal drinking-water require-
BUT JUST a few years ago. Miami
had t.ree times as much of one suspected
cancer-causing agent in the water as
:ec-rai law ailows. And hazardous-waste sites
and industrial pits throughout South Florida
.cak a .umber of chemicals into the Biscavne
,;qu:,er the water supply for about 3-million
:ec:?e that the federal government is inves-
.,:in.-i because of their potential health
,-ere is worse water in the state. Belleview.
*.he:e -asotne has contaminated the town's
am.in wa:er wells, has more tangibie problems.
-i.-. do people who depended on the counties
oriva:e weils that have been abandoned because
ancer-;:a,'s:nz chemicals have been discovered
:hnre at alarming levels.
3 -r ,.e people who have been studying the
itate's water resources. and those responsible
for its protection, give the same answer when
a-ked whicn municipal system has the greatest
potential for major health or contamination
"WHAT WE'RE doing now is just rolling
:he dice and waiting for the seven to come up."
says Jack Malov. executive director of the
South Florida Water Management District.
"And it': zoing :o come up."
S,-mre of the problems facing South Florida
- mostly Dade and Broward counties are
unique to 'hat area of the state. But some < : :he
trers. :ike hazardous wastes, landfills and
.eak:nz underground storage tanks, are res Don-
s:ble :;r water-pollution problems all over
Pineilas County commissioners have literaili-
gone to court because their counterparts .n
Hillsborough may allow the expansion of a pit.
near Pineilas' drinking water wells, that mnay
contain toxic wastes.
To Dade and Broward officials, such a
problem would be a minor irritant.
Five sites in Dade County have made the
federal Superfund list. a directory of 418 of the
worst hazardous-waste sites in the country. At
least three of those sites have been shown to
pollute the Biscavne aquifer, and all seven of the
South Florida Superfund sites are above the
Miami Drum. a company that recycies
drums that have held chemicals, has poisoned
the underground water with a vast list of harm-
ful chemicals. The company is only 250 vards
from one of the city of Miami's weilfields.
The 58th Street Dump. which accepted mu-
nicipal and industrial wastes for nearly 30 years.
is built on top of the Biscayne aquifer. A piume
of toxic chemicals, some of them suspected of
causing cancer, leaks from the dump into the
"THE 58TH Street Dump is a major.
major. major problem." says Richard Pettigrew.
a Miami lawyer and former state House speaker.
"There's no way in the world they're going to
ever clean it up. We basically must just write off
the ground water between there and the ocean."
State environmental officials consider
cleanup of a hazardous-waste site in Fort Lau-
derdale as their top priority. That is because
Hollingsworth Solderless Terminal Co., which
allegedly dumped industrial wastes d:rect!v into
:he aquifer, is on iand adjacent to soer. of the
::yv of Fort Lauderdale's wellfields.
And to add to the problem, there are hun-
dreds of industries and firms in Dade County
that are not connected to the industrial sewers
that could take care of the wastes in a -are way.
Officials admit that those industries are proca-
bly polluting the ground water.
"The oniy logical assumption is :hat the
wastes were put in the ground." says Bill Brant.
pollution chief of the Metro-Dade Department
of Environmental Resource Management.
"That's the only place they could go."
THE PROBLEMS are compounded by
South Florida's unique hydroiogical cncrtiions.
The Biscayne aquifer is one of tne most
productive shallow aquifers in the country. It is
a wedge-shaped section of highly permeable
rock that stretches from southeastern Pair
Beach County south to the Gulf of Mexico. Ai-
most all of Dade and Broward coun::es !ies
above the aquifer, which is about 150 feet deep
along the coast, and tapers until it reaches the
surface in the Everglades.
"There are some places in Dace County
where you can dig no more than 10 feer w;::hou:
hitting water." says Brant. Pineilas County';
water is drawn from the Floridan aquifer by
wells as deep as 700 feet. By contra-:. the mu-
nicipal wells that serve Dade and Brcward resi-
dents usually are less than 70 feet ceep.
Because the aquifer is so close to t:e -urface.
"anything that is put on the ground g- uL :nto ine
water." says Brant.
The Biscayne also is different ::-r. other
aquifers because cracks in the rocks .-.e place
where the water is stored are la.r: and the
water moves more easily.
Seven of the 25 hazardous-waste sites
in Florida on the Environmental
Protection Agency's Superfund list are
above the Biscayne aquifer, source of
Dade County's drinking water. They
are 1, Gold Coast Oil, Miami; 2, Davie
Landfill, Davie; 3, Hollingsworth, Fort
Lauderdale; 4, NW 58th St., Hialeah;
5, Munisport. North Miami: 6, Miami
Drum. Miami; 7, Varsol Spill, Miami.
What do the water
Bv ROBERT BARNES
St -PersiDurg Times Stafl Writr
For six months, they gathered .4
:t'rr. around the state to listen to
horror stories about pesticides, -
hazardous wastes and septic tanks i
pauiuting the water that Floridians
Appointed by House Speaker
Lee .Moffitt. tneir job was to make
recommendations about how to
:rocect the state's fragile water SA
Now that :heir work is finished
do .hey still drink the water?
lMost of :he. do. though almost
.i ,if them responded to the ques-
tion ::th a nervous laugh, and
j~r.e seemed a littlee embarrassed.
H-re are the answers from those
a-. -uuld be reached:
William Sadowski. Miami
.vTer. former state representa-
ve. airmann of the statewide
'3a:er -ask force: "We drink bottled
3a:er we have for years. We
-:ared :a few years ago when one of I
:hose reports came out that said L
:.ere were .-number of things in
:ne warer. We lust decided. 'Why
:afe the chance?'"
Richard Pettigrew, Miami
.aw'ver. former House speaker anc sen-
atrr: "I have put a carbon filter on tne
wajcet of the kitchen sink at home. and in
addition. as a result of our discussions
abcut this. my wife has begun buying
bottled water for us to drink."
Phil Lewis. West Palm Beach busi-
nessman. former Senate president: "I'm
--.1; drinking the water." Tap water, that
Carl Pfaffenberger. director of
:he chemical epidemiology division of the
CLiversity cf Miami Schooi of Medic:ne:
He and his -'fe drink both bottled water
and tap water. "When I'm sick. I drink
oniy bottled water." Pfaffenberger says.
John DeGrove. Florida Atlantic
L'niversity professor recently named
::rector .f the s;ate Department of
C-,runitv Affairs: "I still arir.k tap wa-
. .bottled water.
. tap w
atar. ... tap water.
:er from the city of Boca Ratonl. and I
haven't reaiiy seriously thought abo:t
changing. Of course, the :hines :hat .;e
learned certainly have made me cor.-
Martha Barnett, Tailahassee
lawyer: "I'm still drinking tap water." She
lives north of Tallahassee and her water
comes from a private well. "I did not have
the well tested, but I believe my husband
Maggy Hurchalla. Martin County
commissioner: "I still drink tap water.
from a single. unmonitored well. actually
a shallow well." Hurchalla adds that if sne
took to hearteverythingshe learned while
serving on the task force. "I'd drmcn
straight Scotch only."
Walter S. "Buddy" McLin III.
Leesburg lawyer: "I still drink the :ap
water." McLin's water comes from the
deep municipal wells of the city of Le"e-
burg. and he says he knows of no quality
problems. Part of the reason he has not
switched. he says, is because tap water is
used in so many products. "I don't think
t.a, by drinking bottled water you're
reail.- doing that much."
Victoria Tschinkel. secretary of
the Department ofEnvironmentai Rezu-
lation: "Tap water. We get our water from
the city of Tallahassee."
James Apthorp, vice president of
Deitona Corp.. Miami: "I still drink :ap
water. My water comes from the Miami-
Dade Water and Sewer Authority. I hcoe
they keep the two facilities separate."
Alan G. Greer. Miami lawyer; "'Af-
ter one of the meetings at which we founo
out about the virus problems in water. I
took my wife out to the store and we
bought mountain water. She thought I
was crazy." He says that he doesn't dr:n.
bottled water "religiousiy," but adds that
"every time I drink a glass of tap water. I
think to myself'Why am I doing this' "
Greer receives his water at home from :r.e
Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Author:'.h
Jon Moyle. West Palm Beach
lawyer: "I still drink tap water at hor-..
though we do have bottled water here at
Nathaniel P. Reed. Hobe Scur.-:
investor, former undersecretary of rne
U.S. Department of the Interior: "My
water comes from a private system which
:as some of the purest water in the state.
And we have fought development around
the well field to make sure that it stays
And a word from the two staff mem-
bers who heard all of the testimony and
wrote the task force's final report:
Christian Holland, staff director
of the House Regulatory Reform Com-
mittee: "Well. I still drink tap water, but
I am seriously thinking about buying one
of those purification devices. You can'
have heard the things we heard and not at
least think about something like that."
Fred Breeze, staff director of the
House Rules Committee: "I still dr:nk 'ap
water, but I am considering switch:nn "
Like Holland. Breeze receives his water
from the city of Tallahassee.
"M t oif I lie aitlhll-l waiter liilmstry dio1s siore I rt.il
oininl lhlian pulilic s iystelsil," saiy.s 1'n.le. "1f iiir:it, like
:iny Ihill g else.mi, ollmre iet h er ltli. oilsliths. siell' u li il
freielt tlecliiqlues. We've lfinld tllhat they're a plrelly
ileiailled hunclh olf peoplee"
hMo..'l psllic waler systems count ol chlorine for their
l.sic I rciialnmel of r.H wilier. 'lhat tikes care of alncierial
c:nltminiti ion. Some also "softell" the water by remanlvinig
Much of the hottled water produced in Floridla. Poole
says, is disilfected through a prix'css called ozoialioln.
()zie, ai forll of oxygen, is applied to lie waller. 'This kills
lurlcria, hilt dissipates quickly uidl doesn't affect tile
walter's taste. It nore experlsive to treat waiter with ozone
lthla with chlorine, Poole says.
Some companies wiuing water that already has later
chlhiriiilled eullploy treatmenlts to remove tlhe chhlorine
tlst l that many fill objectionable. Soine remove it lay
rulluli)g (lthe waiter through activated-carlsHn llillers, which
halve heen shown to) remove nol only chlorine, but also
somte imineral uand ipolenltiiilly harnifoul chemicals.
IDISTILLEI) WAT''R is water that colnes from
steiaml. 'lhe' evau|iration process removes ailllntl i all of tihe
uiineral content of the water, anl that's why distilled
water is fhul- lusting.
A process tlhal Poole says has co(llle lllllu r somle scril-
iiny is the v:enlinlg machines lhait promise Ipre water,
usaully at ;1, celits a gallon, to those who lrilng their owna
'l'lhere's been uan awful lot of colncernl aollut cosmianer
frauud ill that area," he says. "Sometinmes those maclinaes
lare jlist lshoked iup to tile city wlter delpartmlest."
'T'lhe ucliues are .sUlipossl lio use some kind of addi-
tional treaultient system, P'oole says. tllt officials ill
Miami found hat one vending machine at a service illl-
tion delivered water via a hose connected tlo ia faIucel e-
hind tile station.
Ioole says there "really is very little regulatory con-a
trol" liver tile nauchlines, liogh I)dsle (:outIlly hias eilcled
ll ordlinunce to insure that tile nisch:illea deliver wlat
*'lorida law requires that little hlhtls contain in-
ifronation anout the purifilation pirwe, uinual tile anineriad
inid chrihmicnul content of the water inside. Iall much oft Ihe
illforaslioni l would mean little to lie Iverlage consliuiner.
"You'dl have to know a lot ahout writer lo Uilsilrslauld
tl hi.e linhl s," he says.
he'l, prise varies, hBll I eal says lthe lnal ioll iaveraige lIor
a piaIlli.in hottlled waler isdi. rieils 'TIhe I'lll.,as (uolla inly
w. ,ll .r sv.s l. ,, hlv (',lallI l. v aioIl il 6,l 21 al:;idons il w\ it'er
for llhait pI int'
Seirs uhs Ilhen. alld so does lihe neighhborlhool Eck-
isc'rw-onl earbhon fillers to complilex reverse isasnosis sys
teaus -- are booming. And their use hasa met with mixed
reviews froal waiter officials and eivironlneiatal experts.
"D)rinlki i wailtr is really aI lsmaull port illn lfor husi-
niess," says A 111 Satyler .i;fSasyltr WilerC('lle Servie ill St.
I'elersburg. "frllt it's growing. And laalely, we've leesl
gel ling Imor e and Inore calls from people who are worried
aulbout their walker."
Coiipanies like Sayler's have lben in I'inellas Coumtly
for years. ''leir main Inisiess for year Is has een soflen-
ing thle nmineral-lauden waler (roal the county water system
for restaurants, ilndusltries lind otiler private compalll ieis.
Ilonleownlers toeo have wanted ile service, which
.makes it easieerto get a lalher fr om sonp aud can naake the
waler less corrosive to phlihllililulg.
A PI'I(O I.EM with water-softeniiig systems is
Ihat to coodilion hlie walker, they replace tihe calcium in
lhe waler will sodium. This call create a problem forr
lose lon low sult dies.
The coimpaliies that for years have dell in con-
ditioniin sysltemls lnow lire addigi,; puirificat ion syslerni tio
Iheir line io walres, uslll new companies dedicated
specifically to trealmenit systems are springing li; p.
The couspnlll y owners stay their customllsers are pretty
Iuauch split li tweeni tlllse who alre concerned abhou what
might he il their till water alnd those who jult don't like
Th'lose who don't like Ihe lilsl should stick lo Ithe
cheaper syslesll, according to Snayler. "If isolmeone lells lme
Ihllt lhey doll' like Ilie walrr. I sillgest they just go o K
miart l r sssomewhere (ild litaly Ile a:heapest nirliun filler
they (uall find to Illut fill lhe fauluelt," Ilb says.
Those fill rs anl remove odor, sionie clolrine residue
anud uny cloudiesss thut miiglhl he isn tha wiuler.
III)T WIIE'THlElt they lire simile filters that clip
on the falul'et sor more complex systlels lhatl go ultnder I he
sink or oilside t he house, there have beten some probllmsi
aissoc:iiletl with Iheir use.
'I'lhe Elnvilri, nesital PIrotlealion Algency says hlue ac-
livilted cclrlllh ill lhe: fillers'. lras Iriip i h nl nd slome
lssmlica.ls, ltl dloi.t.'l gael ri al h lins. Ii allher words, the
cili'sin bana ciisle ia alatl ion iwhre waler isiuing somi iohe
hli.s e is exposed lo more heliirlns atund hIl(a rlas Iul la I
wouhl lie in tlhe lpullic wtler syslelli.
The C(aii liaiin goverllnmenlut considered a hilu fill tlhe
filters, liut revised its positions Io recommended that curlain
filters not he used llin untreated water or waiter hatu is
known to have a high bhaceria count.
Carmbn filters have been used successfully in New
.Jersey and other indulsrial areas where drinking water
hius heen contaminated by Ipotentilally cancer-causing
chemicals. The key is that the carlon musist be replaced
One of the most expensive systems is one that uses a
treatment called reverse osmosis.
What happens is Ihat the water is passed throlligh a
series of semi-permeable layers that are similar to cello-
phanlie. The water passing through the membranes is
separated from tile dissolved minerals. In most water-
putrification methods the water is removed from the
minerals, hut in reverse snmolsis, thie Iminerals are removed
from tile water.
Another sletlhod tlf purification is distillatiou. This
Iproues collects steam from evaloruaed water, liy which
minerals andi chemicals are removed, It is one of the least
expensive ullernatives whel used for small quantities of
water, but many people feel lliat distilled water tastes flat.
Slate and county water officials, who for the llmost part
don't advocM:e the systems, still are more concerned about
smiles techniques Ihuo aiout the iprificutionl devices.
I'INELI.AS COUN'TY water official Fred Kin,-
gery says the cuunly is always onl Ite tlokout for
purification system workers whole describe themselves to
colnstuler s county water employees.
Some of the companies use scare tactics, Kingery says.
"We haud oine company where the salesmne would test the
water. If they found traces of chlorine, which should be
there, the guy would say 'You've got chlorinle in your wa-
ter, yo need astiour sysltell,' Kinlgery says.
"If they didn't find high levels of chlorine, they would
say "l'here's no chlorine in your water. There's nothing to
kill the bacteria. Youst need our system.'
Kingery points oult that Pinellas County water meet s
federal standards for hoth chemicals and bacteria cii I-
tulminulion. lie admits thatl 'itnellas water is hard, li:t
says the health effect from tlht are lolt hIrmlfull.
Water antd emivironillenltal officials say thiate l)lclaisuirs
interested in homlle ipurificatio systems should read up iio
the sihject. It also mauy be helpful Io alllt tlhe equiplilt .,I
first and to find out whether the counpany will muaiilt.in
Z the top 10 drinkers
Although Tampa-St: Petersburg ranks only -
23rd in population, it ranks 7th in
consumption of bottled water.
(standard metro areas) (in millions)
1. Los Angeles 7.56
2. San Francisco 3.28
3. New York 8.99
4. Sacramento 1.10
5. San Diego 1.95
6. Miami 1.75
8. Dallas-Ft. Worth 3.08
9. Chicago 7.13
10. Houston 3.07 ;
Source: international Bortled Water Association
*J^3^____.^LIILIU-.-___- i,, ,.Jm'Ucl ,m
St. Peterburg rimns FRANK PETERS
Look, don't leap,
into bottled water
or filter systems
By ROBfRT BARNES
St Pot.sburg timess Staff Wmrfa
Floridians spent more than S80-million on bottled water in
1981 and that didn't even include Perrier.
Some of them are worried about chemicals and pesticides that
may be hidden in their tap water, and some of them simply don't
like the way it tastes.
So they're going to the store for the water they drink and
paying up to 10 times as much for their drinking water as the
public water system charges.
But they may not be getting what they pay for. For instance.
few of them probably
Know that bottled wa-
ter does not have to
meet any additional
Florida's purity requirements
Than tap water does.
And while the labels
". advertise waterfalls
and hint of hidden
springs, bottled water
often is simply tap
This is another in water that has re-
a series of reports ceived additional
onth. of L treatment.
onthequality ofEven more
Florida's water suspect are the vend-
ing machines that
pump out "pure" wa-
ter. Officials say these machines are ;iot checked regu.ariy. and
iime of them have been found to not treat the water it ai.
BUT BOTTLED WATER is only one side of the boom in
the private water business.
Homeowners also are spending up to thousands of dollars to
treat the water delivered to them from public systems. Most or the
treatment systems are safe and effective.
But there are pitfalls.
Activated carbon filters, which some see as the answer for
cleaning chemically contaminated water, are suspected of
becoming a breeding ground for bacteria. And public water offi-
cials say that unscrupulous sales people are scaring many con-
sumers, especially the elderly, into buying systems that r.ey don't
It wasn't that many years ago when people thought
that those who would buy water would buy anything. But
the purchase of bottled water now is increasing faster than
that of any other beverage. "In the last five years, bot-
tied-water sales have increased 93 percent," says William
Deal, executive vice president of the International Bottled
Americans spent an estimated S500-miilion on bottled
water in 1981. the last year for which the industry has
Florida ranked third among the 50 states, the sales
providing for about 5.8 gallons of bottled water for each
man, woman and child. Miami (14-miilion gallons con-
sumed) led the state, with the Tampa-St. Petersburg area
112-million gallons) close behind.
Many people are switching to bottled water because o'
the increasing amount of chemical contamination being
found in public water supplies. Deal says. But he has his
own theory about Florida water-drinkers.
"I'M SURE in several areas of Florida people
drink it strictly because of taste." he says. "The water that
I've had in some of the restaurants down there is simply
Although bottled water is regulated by both the
federal Food and Drug Administration and the state De-
partment of Health and Rehabilitative Services HRS.,
it does not have to meet any additional purity require-
ments than water from a public water system.
Where does bottled water come from? About 65 per-
cent of the bottled water in this country comes from weils
or springs, Deal says. In Florida. all 20 bottled-water
companies get their water from underground sources,
according to Eanix Poole. of the HRS' environmental
That does not mean. however, that the water in those
bottles decorated with Indian braves and waterfals comes
from hidden artesian wells somewhere in the Florida
PUBLIX BRAND water, for instance, comes
from a well near company headquarters in Lakeiand. And
the source of Zephyrhiils Spring Brand Water is even less
exotic: the Zephyrhills Water Department.
Poole and Deal say it is not that unusual for but::ed
water to come from a public drinking-water well T'.e
difference. they say, is additional treatment.
Chemicals in hamlet's water
have state DOT on defensive
FAIRBANKS (AP) In this
tiny North Florida community.
scme families now drink water
cmy from 5-gallon jars. But fear
and anger persist that years of
swallowing tap water laced with
industrial poisons may have given
some people in Fairbanks long-
term. perhaps deadly, health prob-
"You can't help but be concerned
:f it's something that's affecting
.*our liver or your kidneys." said
L:;lie Glicco, whose well was one of
*-.o dozen in this rural hamlet
found to contain traces of danger-
: ; hydrocarbons.
The discovery that wells were
-,r.ted with chemicals sent a shud-
Ser through many of the 200 fami-
e. in Fairbanks. But the shock
I ave way to fury when residents
earned that the source of the con-
u-.ination was not a rapacious pri-
* .:e company, but apparently their
'own state government the Flori-
ca Department of Transportation
"This is a little bit different when
Vyu realize your own government
causec it.' said Glicco.
"It's a damn shame," echoed Ver-
non Mize. who came to this commu-
ni"v five miles from Gainesviile 50
years ago and amassed 12 000
t.-es, much of which he soid to
cur-ent homeowners. Mize. whose
vweil was clean, said he's ready to
cin a lawsuit that has been filed.
"Some young lawyer would love to
.;et ahoid of this case. It's a good
coon to follow."
November a DOT safety in-
spector discovered that since 1978.
:ar-els of waste from an asphalt
!Iooratory had been dumped in a
pit. land from which the DOT ex-
tracts dirt and minerals for road
Tests begun earlier this year
found a hodgepodge pattern of con-
taminated private drinking wells.
Although the source of the contami-
at::cn is not proven, everyone in-
cluding the DOT assumes the chem-
icals came from barrels leaking into
"My water has a funny odor. I
don't know if it's psychological or
not." said Sharon Teston. Her well
was found free of contamination.
but that of a rental house she and
her husband own next to the bor-
row pit about 100 yards away re-
vealed chemical traces.
The Testons had put their house
up for sale last fall before discovery
of water contamination in Fair-
"Now. realtors say people call
them up and say. 'Let's make them
this offer. They'll take a lot less
'Now, Realtors say
people call them up
and say, 'Let's make
them this offer.' We
own three houses that
are now across the
tracks, if you know
what I mean.'
now.' We own three houses that are
now across the tracks, if you know
what I mean," she said.
"The only thing that worries me
is the value of the property going
down, except for [purposes of) as-
sessment of taxes." said William
Melton, a retired Gainesville oolice-
Those who have been forced :o
drink bottled water supplied by the
DOT the past few weeks say .t
hasn't caused much inconvenience.
They say the agency is quick to re-
spond with jars of water whenever
Melton said he is not particularly
worried about minute chemical
traces found in his well because
"it's like smoking a cigaret for can-
cer or sweetener in your tea."
"What they should have done :-
start with is go into that bar pit anc
pinpoint the problem, then go
around and test each house to check
the water." Mize said. "You have to
call to get your water tested."
Residents complain of difficur:.
in getting their wells tested, and .n
obtaining information on potential
hazards of eating vegetables frozen
in the water or swimming in pool-
filled with it.
"I' has been a little difficult :
coordinate requests between resi-
dents. the DOT. the Department of
Environmental Regulation and the
Alachua County Health Depan-
ment." said Glenda Wood. a DOT
spokeswoman in Tailahassee.
DOT has hired consultants ;
tackle the problem. After an est.-
mated 50 barrels are located. exc_-
vation should begin the week after
next, said Chuck Ailer. DOT project:
Monitoring wells will be crillea
to determine the extent of the con-
tamination. "We hope to have t.e
entire situation taken care of within
a year." Aller said.
He said removal of the barre.
could eliminate the problem al-
though there could be other sources
An investigation is under way to
determine who's responsible for the
dumping, Wood said. Aller said em-
ployes who dumped the material
didn't know it was hazardous and
those who wanted it removed from
the lab didn't know how it was
being disposed of.
Graham demands answers from D01'
Governor etrLbarrasse(Ive OU( 40 I-1( "ldiall,IO)II
By II. Mlichael Anderson
STlinsi-Unlon Slalt Wrlter
AI.IAIASSI':; (ov. Bob r.iahail,
Sembali rassed by recent reports conccernilng
the deterioration of Inlerslate t10 fron 'alla-
lhassee to I'ensacola, is (lenliiiling some .an
swers from the I)epiartment of 'ransp)or;t-
State translxrltation officials have known
for three or four years that the original dle-
./ sign cement base under concrete slabs -
was not suitable for the Panhandle's hard-
clay soil, but Graham was not kept advised,
according to his chief of staff, Dick iur-
aul Pappas nurroughs said that Crahami wants to
$200 mldhon cost know why I-10 is in such bad shape already,
Gov. Bob Graham
Not kept advised
what needs to he done to connect the prob-
lems, and what is going to be done to ensure
the problems do not happen again.
(Craham received a letter Monday from
DOT Secretary Paul Pappas, who explained
that much of 1-10 from Jefferson Counly to
Pensacola is crumbling because of poor de
sign and heavier-than-anticipated uisg.i by
big trucks. However, Pappas said Ihilt a
plan to restore the original strength and lon-
gevity of 1-10 woukl be completed by May I.
"It is anticipated that this effort will cost
approximately $20 million per year over a
10-year period," Pappas said.
Graham, however, was not satisfied with
the letter. lie Instructed Pappas to provide
"What we asked for." Burroughs said,
"was information as to how to cure the
problem, plus how we got theie and how we
aire gohig to be sure we don't gel there
"lle (;rihallinll was aware of the mailnten
.ane problems, bill not the extent of the,
problems," ilurroiluhs said.
The oirigiiinal design allowed for water ito
seeip lIlliiuglll the sealrls in tlhe conl-iv.lh
paveli'iment, whleie it was siiu;lslled lto have
drained into the ground. however, the
trapped water Ibegan eroding the cemmient
mlix foundation I 'c;anse it colt l n ii l ,np11
elrate Ihe hIard clay soil.
Officials lnow rIefelr to the Iconml.ruictioll
I k I
iellhod as a I lhllh ub designi becaire it retain ;
Over the last couple of years, Ihe slate has
spenl $1.5 mll lion dillinig holes in 50 miile; of
concrete pavement all pinmping a ceo.'-i'l.
iiiixur, undeIi r the slabs. IBut some section of
the highway may have to be lorn up and aI
new foundation laid.
The fact that so iiianly iwople at tw I)( DOT
have been intimately acqua;inctd with the na;
lure and extlenl. of the 1-1ll problems probably
contributed to the failure to adequately keep
the governor inlfrned., Iturroulhs said.
"Accoi dig, to Secretlary I'apllis, lie fell. ev-
i ylIKly knew about he pollem, and lir fell
the governor ldid," IBurroughs said.
In March 19HI, former 'Transportlalion Sc-
retary Jacob Varn sent a Illngthy report oni
the I 10 problems to the Federal Highway Ad-
ninistration, detailing the extent and causes
of the deterioration and asking for federal
funds to repair Ihe damage. For some reason,
a copy of the report was not given to (Iraihan
"We were not copied on that report," Iur-
roughs said. "We found out a copy of Ihle re-
iprt was over there lat I)OT headqiliailers],
and we got a copy a few (lays :nio."
The dilemma a became public knowledge last
Sunday when the irft Iniilfn/iter Nlews annd
Sun Sentinel reported that 220 miles of 1-10 Ie-
tween I'ensacola and a liint .10 miles east of
'allalhssee needed flurtlel work.
But Ituirroughls was surprised by all the
comlmolioln iting raised.
"Tlhe problem is not a crisis, Ibcaulse Ihe
highway is still iuL!nhle anll will lbe in some
areas for 20 years," lhe said "As sections need
repairing, Ihey will be repaired.
all'ss not a new story," Ilurroughs said.
"Tlhe press shonll have covered it wlhii it
frsI .sl arldll." le noted thal rough coliditliol i
alori' the ill' Ianhandllle sirelch of I 10 were
I ni: -d as early as 197 din i ing Cov. Iteiiiii As-
ow s re election calimpaigmi
";lli1 ill early I11iGO Ie fede( al lDe
pal iniil of Tiansporlatlion IDj)1 wlanleil l
emliphasiie concrete onl inleistales," he said.
"The 11-101 failure is in the (cemlent-based) un
dersurlface, not the concrete ribbon itself.
"I'n sure federal DUT and Florida Dt1'I
werie jointly responsible for Ithat," he aidl.
"l'Federal )DOT is part of the iolelin Itw'cause
they moor or less required thal designn"
Iiroinghls :and state tranispiliotaion officials
*,;ii(l that no slati'e dollars woulll e uiseid to re-
stole I-10. The money will come out of the
interstate preservation fund, which will be
$r0.2 million for Florida in the next fiscal year,
iup from $24.2 million last year.
I)eputy Transportation Secretary Tomn
Lewis said the design of the western half of
110 was a technique that was being tried out
all around the country in the late 1950s and
lie said that the department is trying to de-
lermine whether any of the original design en
gineers private consultants and state per-
soninl may lie held liable for the damages.
Bilt, he said that it looks doubtful the state
will recover any money because the statute of
limitations has expired and because the de
sign was acceptable throughout the country
when it first became popular.
"llopefully, this department ihas learned its
lesson oi the bathIllu design, which is what it
is called liH'ause it was designed to retain wa-
ler," Lewis said.
Alternatives to landfills
The hazardous waste generated by
American industry, an environmental threat
barely dreamed of a decade ago, is now reach-
ing nightmarish proportions. More than a ton
of toxic chemical waste for each man, woman
and child is dumped into the environment
Most of the poisonous gunk, about 80 per-
cent, is buried in landfills. But that may be a
tragic mistake in the long run.
All the experts agree that any landfill, no
matter how well constructed, eventually will
leak, allowing its toxic contents to ooze into un-
derground water supplies or push to the
surface. Even though landfills are supposed to
be monitored for leaks for decades, that won't
solve the problem. Their contents can remain
dangerous for centuries or even, in the case of
toxic metals, forever.
-THE REASON most companies bury
their toxic waste in landfills is simple. Burial is
much cheaper than the alternatives. But that's
true only if you consider the immediate costs.
Years or decades from now, if toxic dumpers
had to pay for cleaning up a leak and compen-
sating victims, the cost advantage of landfills
Some of the alternatives to landfills, accord-
ing to the New York Times, include:
Changing industrial processes so that
the volume of waste generated is reduced.
i Recovery and recycling of waste ma-
terials for use in other products.
SIncineration on land or at sea.
w Chemical, biological and physical treat-
ments to reduce the volume or toxicity of the
w Injection into deep wells.
V Dumping in deep ocean water under
Interim storage in surface tanks while
further research is conducted to find the best
w Banning any product or process that pro-
duces wastes which cannot be handled safely
by any means at.all.-
THE THREAT posed to the nation's wa-
ter by leaking landfills is not hypothetical. The
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
recently conducted a test of underground
drinking water supplies in 954 cities with popu-
lations of more than 10,000 and found chemical
contamination in 29 percent of the samples.
If companies continue to bury more than
200-million tons of poisonous waste in landfills
every year, it won't be long before the water
could be dangerous to drink in many American
cities. Hazardous waste generators have to be
convinced to switch from burial to some other
method of disposal
California, always a trendsetter, has found a
way. The state changed its regulations after a
government study found that at least 70 per-
cent of the hazardous wastes generated in Cali-
fornia could be recycled, treated or destroyed
instead of buried in landfills. To discourage
burial, California increased landfill taxes for
hazardous waste disposal, banned the dumping
of certain extremely toxic wastes, such as cyan-
ide, and offered low-interest loans for the con-
struction of hazardous waste treatment plants.
The Florida Legislature would be wise to
study California's approach. But the scope of
the problem is so great that a state-by-state so-
lution is impractical.
The irony is that current federal regulations
actually encourage the use of landfills. For in-
stance, a three-year study by the congressional
Office of Technology Assessment pointed out
that lax federal requirements for landfills -
such as failure to require stringent monitoring
for leaks and allowing some older dumps to
meet less exacting requirements make
burying wastes cheaper than the alternatives.
THE FUROR over the EPA's mismanage-
ment of the hazardous-waste clean up program
has had at least one good effect. It has focused
the nation's attention on the enormous scope of
the problem and the urgent need to address it.
Rep. James Florio, D-NJ., chairman of the
House subcommittee in charge of hazardous
waste legislation, has said, "There are serious
and numerous gaps in our present hazardous
waste regulatory system gaps which must be
closed if we are to protect public health."
Federal regulations that encourage the use
of landfills threaten the public health. Florio's
committee should give this issue top priority. If
Congress does not address the issue, the drink-
ing water for millions of Americans could be
poisoned by toxic chemicals.
Push for Cleanup
Of Toxic Wastes
By MARK JOURNEY
Sun Staff Writer
State Rep. Sid Martin, D-Haw-
thorne. said Friday he had something
in common with at least some Fair-
banks residents he's a "redneck."
That's one reason he'll push the
Department of Transportation hard
to clean up the borrow pit which con-
taminated at least 25 wells there.
That may have reassured Fair-
banks resident Jim Cox, who was
waiting for his chance to speak while
Martin grilled representatives from
DOT and other agencies involved in
the Fairbanks cleanup.
After all, Martin and Rep. Jon
Mills, D-Gainesville, were in town to
meet with Fairbanks residents and
tell them they have not been forgot-
ten; Forty minutes into the meeting
Cox got his chance to talk.
"I'm a contaminated resident,"
Cox said, introducing himself. He
added that all the wells in Fairbanks
are not being tested for possible con-
Martin, however, told Cox not to
worry. Government would do its job.
Money for the cleanup will be no
problem. Martin identified himself as
one of the common folks and. conse-
quently, he said he's capable of un-
derstanding Fairbanks residents'
"You're a redneck like me from
Fairbanks," Martin said, drawing
laughter from reporters and others in
the audience at the Alachua County
Administration building. Martin had
told Chuck Aller, DOT project manag-
er for the Fairbanks cleanup, that all
the residents' wells should be tested.
"Somebody's got to have responsi-
bility and you're the one who alleged-
ly started this." Martin told Aller. "'I
want to hold you 100 percent respon-
sible to head this up."
"Yes sir." Aller said.
Then Martin motioned to Aller to
sit. A few minutes later. Martin told
"We'll put you in jail
(for polluting)," Martin
the DOT representative to stop glar-
ing at him, drawing more laughter.
DOT is believed to be responsible
for polluting wells in Fairbanks by
burying drums containing hazardous
chemicals in a 10-acre borrow pit
located off State Road 225A north of
the community. The DOT testing
laboratory on Waldo Road has been
burying 55-gallon drums of spent
chemicals in the pit since about 1978.
Other chemicals have been poured
into the pit as well, but recent esti-
mates are that up to 50 drums of the
chemicals are buried in the pit
Emphasizing his concern for Flo-
rida's water supply. Martin said he
will ask the state House and the fed-
eral government for $1.5 billion dur-
ing the next legislative session to
clean up the hundreds of waste sites
The sum is the minimum amount
it will require to clean up the waste
sites that threaten to contaminate
Florida's drinking water, Martin said.
Mills and Martin also said they
will present a bill to the House that
calls for stiff fines for polluting indus-
"We'll put you in jail (for pollut-
ing)," Martin said.
When Florida's population was
smaller, it was not as important
where wastes were deposited. Martin
said. Today, however, great care
must be taken in disposing of hazard-
ous wastes, he said. He also said that
the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency said it would help pay to
clean up 25 waste sites in Florida.
Mills said the state also may de-
cide to tax chemical industries to
help clean up hazardous wastes.
A Step to Cleaner Water
Concern about fresh water sup-
plies on Florida's West Coast is con-
stant, but it has been brought into
sharper focus by a St Petersburg en-
vironmental attorney who is asking
expanded protection for ground
Thomas W. Reese has petitioned
the state to declare water in the Mid-
dle Gulf Hydrologic System "first
class" under the state's 1982 ground
water rule. Water underlying most of
Citrus, Hernando. Pasco, Pinellas and
Hillsborough counties, from the With-
lacoochee to the Hilisborough rivers,
would be protected.
If granted, the "first class" desig-
nation would limit more strictly the
type and degree of wastes new devel-
opments industrial, agricultural
and residential could discharge on
the surface or in holding ponds.The
basic goal would be to protect water
in the aquifer from pollution.
Reese concedes that his initial re-
quest may be regarded as too broad,
but he hopes to establish a continuing
dialogue on water supplies in the
area, especially with regard to future
A primary concern is the impact
of urban sprawl into well fields cur-
rently serving West Coast municipal-
ities. The proliferation of septic tanks
also is a growing problem.
There is no indication how long it
will take the Department of Environ-
mental Regulation to process the
Reese petition. It is the first to be
filed under the new ground water
rule. However, on its face it appears
to have sufficient merit to warrant
the scheduling of a public workshop.
Growth of the area served by the
Micdle Gulf Hydrologic System has
exceeded all expectations and with it
has come increased demands for
fresh water. Saltwater intrusion has
crept further inland as underground
supplies of fresh water are depleted.
Pinellas County must go beyond its
borders for most of its drinking
Water is plentiful now because
Florida has experienced a very wet
winter. But it does not require a long
memory to recall periods of drought,
disappearing lakes and wells sucking
During dry periods the quality of
water suffers and will be even more
affected if adequate measures to pre-
vent pollution from uncontrolled sur-
face discharges are not adopted.
Reese has taken an important
step toward putting to use the new
rules on fresh water management
and the protection of available sup-
plies against pollution by those who
need it most
THE TAMPA TRIBUNE. Tuesday, March 29.1983 5-A
Waste disposal company surfaces
in new controversy, records show
The legislator admitted
lobbying for passage of the
bills and denied he had done
WASHINGTON (UPI) An attorney for a
giant hazardous waste disposal company bought
229 acres of land in 1981 and 1982 for about
$250.000 from a financially strapped Alabama
legislator who won passage of a law that protects
the firm against competition, court records show.
The legislator, state Rep. Preston C Minus Jr.,
acknowledged Monday he also lobbied for state
funds for a port in his district that is being built
on land purchased for $2.4 million from Ira Dray.
ton Pruitt, the attorney for Chemical Waste Man-
agement Inc. of Oakbrook, III.
Pruitt has an unwritten "option" to buy an-
other 450 acres of his land for $292,500, Minus
said in a telephone interview.
Tax Assessor Joseph Stegall of Sumter Coun-
ty. Ala.. where the land is situated, told United
Press International the prices Pruitt paid and
proposes to pay Minus appear higher than those
In recent sales of comparable property in the
area's depressed real estate market
Minus, asked about a possible conflict of in-
terest in his dealings with Pruitt. said he "hadn't
thought of it" until a reporter phoned, but denied
any impropriety. He acknowledged he had lost
money on his farm at the time of the sale and
said he went to Pruitt his personal lawyer -
seeking to liquidate some property to "save some
of my farm."
Pruitt declined comment, asserting be was
"ethically bound" not to discuss any matter relat-
ing to Chemical Waste Management.
The company, a subsidiary of Waste Manage-
ment Inc., a billion-dollar corporation that is the
nation's largest waste disposal company, owns a
sprawling chemical landfill just north of Emelle,
Ala. in Sumter County.
Both firms have been at the center of the con-
troversy at the Environmental Protection Agency
that resulted In the departures of agency chief
Anne M. Burford and 12 other officials.
There have been allegations that Waste Man-
agement and its subsidiaries violated state and
federal laws by improperly dumping toxic wastes
at facilities in at least seven states, including the
Emelle site. EPA officials recently told UPI that
a lawyer for the company, James Sanderson,
served as a top adviser to Burford for 15 months
and joined her at meetings on matters affecting
Sanderson is under FBI Investigation, numer-
ous law enforcement agencies are investigating
the company and Waste Management has hired
outside counsel to conduct an independent in*
Minus acknowledged he pushed through legis-
lation in late 1981 that sharply restricted new
hazardous waste facilities in Alabama. He said he
also lobbied heavily for state funds for a port
along the new Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway,
about 17 miles from the Emelle site.
Pruitt. former mayor of Livingston, Ala., last
year sold the state 580 acres of riverfront prop-
erty, for $2.4 million, to serve as the port site at
Epes, Ala At least two members of the Sumter
County Industrial Board, which put together the
package, strongly challenged the purchase price,
noting a $1,850-per-acre jump in value between
the first and second property appraisals the
Pruitt is business partners with the board's
chairman, Thomas Neuhauser, according to Vice
Chairman Leroy Overstreet Pruitt purchased the
land for about $70,000 In 1971, about the time
county officials say a Tennessee contractor first
suggested construction of a local port on the new
waterway. The waterway, being opened through
dredging and widening of the Tombigbee River
and connecting it with the Tennessee River, will
link barge traffic from the North to Gulf Coast
ports in Mobile, Ala.
Overstreet said Pruitt also serves as attorney
for the 11-member board, and that Chemical
Waste Management's southeast regional man-
ager, Mark Gregory, is a board member.
Local officials believe Chemical Waste Man-
agement, which seeks to operate an ocean-burn-
ing vessel in the gulf. plans to use the port to re-
ceive solid wastes to be dumped at the Emelle
site and for shipping liquid wastes to a proposed
controversial southern port in Chickasaw, Ala.
Legislators to hear Palatka mayor today
By Jack Harper
Tlm*s-Ulen Sta.h Writer
PALATKA This Northeast Florida city of
about 10,000 has gone a long way in eliminating
the pockets of clapboard shanties that have
typified the landscape of small Southern towns
for almost a century.
Some still are there, Palatka officials admit,
but years of condemnation and rebuilding add
massive chunks of federal grant money put into
rent-subsidized housing, sewer and paving pro-
jects are making them the exception rather
than the rule.
Now, Palatka Mayor Eugene Walker wants
Florida legislators to take a look at what he
calls the new slums of the small Southern cities
- the once substantial middle-class neighbor-
hoods that have not kept up with the times.
These deteriorating neighborhoods, especial-
ly noticeable in the older small towns of North
Florida, have been largely Ignored because
they are not populated by the hard-core poor,
Yet, they have the greatest potential for a
sustained, self-perpetuating cleanup of small-
town America. Their residents can pay back
low-interest rebuilding loans to create a fund
for more redevelopment The money will not be
an outright, one-time handout.
Palatka has already applied for historic dis- .
trict status for two districts north and south of
St. Johns Avenue in the old downtown section of
The homes there, many more than 50 years
old, once housed some of the town's most sub-
Now because of the flight to the suburbs,
they are shells of their prime. Walker wants
low-interest government oans for private de-
velopers to convert the interiors of these old
homes into efficiency multi-family apartments.
They would retain their classic early Florida
exteriors to keep their historic flavor.
That will be the thrust of Walker's presenta-
tion to the Oversight Subcommittee on Commu
nity Affairs of the Florida Iouse today in Talla
hassee. Walker will be speaking for the League I
of Florida Cities.
Florida is one of only 12 states that have not
taken over administration of the small cities
grant pirogrin and is expected to look at the is-
sue again when the I.egslature convenes April
5. The Senale approved the takeover last year,
but the bill died in the House.
Block grant proposals to be outlined
Palatka, about 55 miles south of Jacksonville,
has received more federal money under more
federal programs than any other small town in
Palatka has obtained $5.1 million in commu-
nity block grant programs for the poor and
more than $1 million for housing rehabilitation
on low 3 percent loans to residents of moderate
The success story, under federal grants, in-
The rehabilitation of more than 140 single-
family homes and 65 multifamily units.
V' The laying of 82 blocks of street paving
V* The construction or refurbishing of five
major parks and six "tot lots" around the city.
V The purchase of a new pumper fire truck
and placement of two traffic lights along major
V The $250,000 renovation of the city owned
Bronson House, an 1851 structure on the Nation-
al Register of Historic Places.
Those Improvements, all made with federal
money, have come since 194. The city is now
refurbishing the ancient James Hotel on St.
Johns Avenue with a $250,000 federal grant.
Long active in acquiring the federal hand-
outs, Palatka did well under urban-renewal,
pblic-housing, open-space and eighborhood-
facilities programs in effect before the commu-
nity block grant came along.
Walker said the flaw In the government's
grant programs is that successful grant appli-
cation writers have concentrated on target
areas most likely to draw federal dollars, not
programs that would be most beneficial to the
"Once the money Is spent in the extremely low-
income areas where the majority of homeowners
can't afford any loan repayment, It is gone and
can't lead to future development," Walker said.
lie would like to see the programs change from
an emphasis on outright grants to low-interest
loans in low and moderate income areas.
'Once the money is spent in the
extremely low-income areas where
the majority of homeowners can't
afford any loan repayment, it is
gone and can't lead to future
Palatka Mayor Eugene Walker
He would also like to see economic development
get more federal dollars In programs totally sepa-
rate from public works and housing rehabilitation.
Florida, he said, should set up Its own money
fund to aid downtown redevelopment in small cit-
He will propose to the subcommittee today that:
t0 An applicant be allowed to spend 20 percent of
the grant money on a citywide basis so as to clean
up areas not directly in the target area. This would
keep small blighted areas from becoming slums.
V A maximum of 20 percent of the grant money
be used as a loan fund for landlords to bring rental
houses up to standard without increasing rents
above what low- and moderate-income residents
Fifty percent of the grant be used in target
areas, stressing low-interest loans where possible.
V Ten percent of the money go for water and
sewer repair or installations and street construc-
tion and maintenance with the cities required to
pay 10 percent matching money.
Walker will also recommend that citizens adviso-
ry committees be formed to recommend projects
in their communities.
Finally, he will suggest that a deputy director be
appointed in the Florida Department of Communi-
ty Affairs to oversee the programs on a statewide
plan to inject
By Jim Heaney
OF T"t S3NmN. srTAW
Orlando's plan to inject 12
million gallons of treated waste.
water a day 600 feet into the
ground was approved Tuesday by
the city's planning board.
But city staffers were ques-
tioned by board members who
wanted assurances that the treat-
ed wastewater wont pollute the
Floridan aquifer Florida's ma.
jor source of drinking water.
"We are playing with an un-
known," said board member
Celina Rebaza, who cast the only
vote against allowing construction
of the 580 million, experimental
sewage treatment plant on 172
acres near Orlando International
Airport. Thirteen board members
voted for the project.
Rebaza's concerns echoed those
of a growing number of cities -
including Cocoa, Belle Isle,
Bartow and Jacksonville that
have raised questions about the
concept of injecting treated
But Orlando officials say that
treatment will bring the waste-
water up to drinking-water qual-
ity. They predict that the objec-
tions won't stop construction of
the plant because so far it has
won full support from the state
Department of Environmental
Regulation and the South Florida
Water Management District gov-
They are the prime agencies.
involved in granting permits for
the plant's construction.
"The people who are objecting
haven't had a chance to hear our
side of the story yet," said
Michael Hanlon, a city engineer
who oversees sewage projects on
the east side of Orlando.
Orlando says it needs the plant
to meet increasing pressure for
development in the southeast part
of the city.
Cocoa has wells within 10 miles
of the proposed plant. Because
water in the aquifer travels less
than a quarter-mile a year, it will
take decades to reach Cocoa's
wells, said Bill Stephenson,
director of the Cocoa Utilities
"I don't think it will do the city of
Cocoa any irreparable harm in my life-
time," Stephenson said. But he said he
believes it will damage the aquifer
Stephenson said Orlando was "forced"
to come up with the injection system
because state environmental agencies
have insisted that the city and Orange
County stop putting treated wastewater
into lakes and streams.
Cocoa's wells, which supply much of
central Brevard County, are about 600
feet deep, the same depth as the injec-
Orlando's water supply wells are about
1,200 feet deep and draw from a differ-
ent level of the aquifer.
One of the most vocal opponents to the
injection concept is the Florida chapter
of the American Water Works Associ-
ation, a professional group involved in
water supply technology.
The group is headed by David
Crowson, an Orlando consulting engineer
who 11 years ago left the Orlando Utili-
ties Commission where he was manager
of water operations.
Crowson did not attend Tuesday's
meeting but said afterward that injecting
water underground no matter how
clean it is into the state's major
source of drinking water is an unneces-
sary risk. His group wants the state to
change its philosophy.
Crowson said Orlando's proposal is
"excellent" and would work well if it
operates as designed. But no one knows
about the long-term effects.
"We don't know if it will be harmful.
But then again, we don't know that it
won't," he said.
The organization voted in November
against DER policies that allow the
dumping of treated wastewater into the
The plant, south of Orlando Interna-
tional Airport, could treat 15 million gal-
lons of sewage daily. Twelve million gal-
lons would be injected through 600-foot-
deep wells. Three million gallons would
be sprayed on land.
DER officials like the concept because
it would conserve one of the state's most
Sewage plants have traditionally
dumped chemical-laden, treated sewage
into lakes and streams that eventually
empty into the ocean or gulf.
Current city sewer customers won't
face increased fees to pay for the plant,
city officials promised, because the city
has a policy that new growth should pay
its own way through hookup fees.
Panel wants tax hike to protect water
irB*T' TALLAHASSEE (AP) A special Implement 14 task force recommendations.
House panel Tuesday recommended a $70 About 92 per cent of Florida's drinking
million-a-year legislative package to protect water comes from groundwater. That source
groundwater Florida's main drinking is under threat from toxic chemical spills,
Water source from hazardous waste and pesticides, overdevelopment, drought, Inade-
i V other threats. quate sewage treatment, saltwater intrusion
4 Two new statewide taxes and are includ- and pollutants from landfills and septic
ed: A 5 per cent wholesale level tax on chem- tanks.
Icals and pesticides would raise up to $13 The package Includes a $5.3-mllion bill to
million for hazardous waste clean-up; and strengthen the Department of Environmental
home buyers and other borrowers would pay Regulation's authority to monitor and protect
a documentary stamp surcharge of 20 cents both surface and groundwater, Including the
per $100 value to raise $50 million a year for ability to ban or limit pesticide use.
new sewage treatment plants. The agency now cannot stop use of the
Former Rep. Bill Sadowski, chairman of pesticide Temik although it has begun crop-
the Speaker's Task Force on Water, said tra- ping up in wells. The Department of Agricul-
ditlonal spending priorities have been educa- ture, however, has temporarily suspended its
tion, law enforcement and social services, use.
S "It is our strong feeling that you have to The chemical-pesticide tax would be used
Increase that pile of top priorities by one to help pay for a $59.8-mllion hazardous
groundwater protection," he said. waste and sewage treatment bill.
I' if action Isn't taken. Sadowski added. "We That bill includes $3 million to give the
will be looking back 10 years from now with DER a "first-strike" capability to deal with
regrets and our children having regrets and -such emergencies as leaking fuel-storage
Public health Impaired." tanks and broken sewer lines.
-.. .... v .j During a press conference with Sadowski The documentary tax surcharge is another
AsiocitedPress and House Natural Resources Chairman Jon part of this bill. It would be added for only
lHouse Speaker Lee Moffitt describes proposed Mills (D., Gainesville), speaker Lee Moffitt five years and used for $50 million in sewage
tax package at a news conference Tuesday. (D., Tampa) unveiled eight bills designed to treatment grants to local governments.
Cleanup to start
at toxic dump site
By Jay Mallin
ssCL. TO 1To mwTe.
GAINESVILLE The first phase in the cleanup
of a state-created toxic dump site will begin today
and cost at least $250,000, state officials said
And the project to eliminate contamination in the
water supply probably will be even more expensive,
The dump is in the tiny community of Fairbanks,
northeast of Gainesville. The dump was created by
state Department of Transportation workers who
buried barrels of toxic chemicals from a nearby DOT
laboratory that tested road building materials.
After the dumping was questioned by a depart.
ment safety inspector, health workers began testing
water from the wells of nearby residents.
Of 83 wells tested so far, 25 showed traces of toxic
chemicals, and health workers say that number may
Chuck Aller, DOT project manager, said the state
plans a three-step cleanup.
In the first step, he said, the state will hire private
contractors to find and remove barrels buried at the
dump. He said they probably will be shipped to a
licensed disposal site in another state.
At the same time, another group, possibly using
ground-penetrating radar, will attempt to map the
geology and water flow in the area of the dump.
That will take about 13 weeks.
Aller said this hae of the cleanup will cost at
least a quarter of a million dollars. Digging up the
barrels will take about 5150,000, with the rest going
to the consulting firm of Dames and Moore for ad-
vice on the cleanup.
In the remaining two steps, workers will drill
wells to monitor underground water flow and decide
how to deal with the contamination the water
"You have two separate problems," Aller said.
"You have a contaminated pit, and then you have
He said that both problems should be solved in
less than a year, but making the groundwater drink-
able again might prove much more expensive than
just cleaning the pit.
While work on the dump is under way, the state
has been supplying free bottled water to residents
whose wells tested as contaminated. The tests found
traces of trichlorethane, dichlorethane, and
Dr. Terence Collins, state Department of Health
and Rehabilitative Services, told Fairbanks resi-
dents at a meeting Monday night that little is
known about the effects of small amounts of the
Land disposal of toxic waste coming under
By Philip M. Boffey
N.Y. Tlmes News ServiCe
WASIIINGTON Burying hazardous
wastes on land, by far the most common meth-
od of disposal in this country, may be the least
safe practice in the long run, according to an
emerging consensus of expert opinion.
'l'his judgment applies not only to past prac-
tices, which virtually everyone agrees were
sloppy and dangerous, but also to some of the
most advanced techniques required under the
tougher laws of recent years.
This country has made enormous progress
,in coping with the flood of wastes generated by
the world's leading industrial society, exprtrs
agree. New laws and regulations require strict
accounting for toxic wastes, set stiff require-
meiils for their disposal and provide funds and
hlegal authority to clean up the toxic messes
that seem to emerge somewhere In the coun-
try almost daily.
However, the most common method of dis-
posal continues to be land burial Indeed, when
a dangerous toxic waste site is discovered
somewhere and deemed a hazard to the imme-
diate neighborhood, the wastes are often sim-
ply trucked off to another site where the burial
pit is better designed and local people more
willing to accept the wastes.
Now, however many technical experts are
warning that such remedial action may simply
be removing the'problem to another location
where it will have to be faced again. Even the
most advanced landfills will eventually leak,
all experts agree, so their toxic contents soon-
er or later begin to ooze into underground wa-
terways or to the surface environment Cur-
rent regulations require that waste disposal
sites he monitored for decades, but some toxic
chemicals remain dangerous for centuries, and
toxic metals remain toxic forever.
There are sharp disputes over whether such
leakage would be truly hazardous or a minor
risk of little concern. But experts on all sides
of the debate agree that land disposal should
be further curtailed and that alternative treat-
ment technologies should be brought into
The National Governors Association recent-
ly approved a resolution that the Federal Envi-
ronniental Protection Agency "should be re-
quired to develop regulations phasing out the
burial of hazardous wastes where alternative
treatment technologies are reasonably avail-
,The land disposal of wastes which are high-
ly toxic or persistent should be Ipmediately
prohibited," the resolution said.
California has already taken the lead with a
policy, enunciated when Edmund G. Brown Jr.
was governor and thus far left intact, to reduce
dependence on landfills and increase the use of
alternative treatments. "We found that at least
70 percent or more of all hazardous wastes
generated in California could be recycled,
heated or destroyed without going to land dis-
posal," Kent Stoddard, director of California's
toxic waste assessment program, said in a tel-
A three-year study by the Congressional Of-
fice of Technology Assessment, due to be
made public today, is expected to cast further
doubt on land disposal Joel S. Ifirschhorn, the
study's director, has already testified that the
"long-term effectiveness of landfilling can be
Hearings late last year before a
House Science and Technology sub-
committee, headed by Rep. James ii.
Scheuer, D-N.Y., produced a parade
of witnesses who argued, in varying
degrees, that land burial should be re-
duced. At one extreme, William San-
lour, an official of the Environmental
Protection Agency who is at odds
with his agency's leaders, proposed
no landfillng at all for hazardous
wastes when alternative treatments
are certifiably available.
At the other extreme the Chemical
Manufacturers Association, whose
member companies generate much
of the nation's hazardous wastes, ar-
gued that "landfilling of most hazard-
ous wastes can be done In an environ-
mentally sound manner." But even
the chemical group acknowledged a
"need to reduce dependency on land-
fills" and said the nation was already
"headed toward a condition where
landfills will be used as a last resort."
Current environmental protection
Regulations require that land burial
be carried out lar more carefully
than in the past. The regulations re-
quire, for example, that new landfills
have liners to keep the wastes inside,
collection systems to remove the liq-
uid that inevitably forms, monitoring
devices to detect the escape of toxic
* materials, and "caps" to close off the
site once it is filled. The regulations
also discourage burial of most. but
not all liquids and encourage burial
in solid form.
The rationale behind these regula-
tions, according to John P. Lehman,
director of the agency's hazardous
and Industrial waste division, is lhat
typical land disposal sites will be kept
under close surveillance for half a
century 20 years of operation and 30
years after the cap is on, long enough
to detect and correct any leaks. "If
you haven't detected any problem In
Yearss" he said in an Interview.
"the chances are you are never going
to have any signfcant groundwater
However, critics contend that even
some of the best liners and landfills
appear to spring leaks quickly. Kirk
Brown, a professor of soil science at
Texas A&M University, testified last
fall that 11 out of 12 liners he tested
under field conditions leaked after six
Peter Montague head of a re-
search program at Princeton Univer-
sity's Center for Energy and Environ-
mental Studies, found that four sup-
posedly "secure" and
stale-of the-art" landfills in New Jer-
sey developed leaks in the Innermost
of two linings within a year after be-
ing put into service.
Virtually all experts agree that
there are alternatives, many of them
already in hand, that can be used to
replace or supplement land burial in
many cases. thesee are some of the
6I Changing industrial processes to
reduce the generation of waste.
W Recovery and recycling of
waste materials for use in other prod-
6 Incineration, on land or at sea.
6 Physical, chemical and biologi-
cal treatments to reduce the volume
or toxicity of the waste.
V Injection Into deep wells.
V Dumping In deep ocean water
under some circumstances.
V Interim storage In surface tanks
while further research is conducted
to find the best possible treatments.
Outright banning of any product
or process that produces wastes that
cannot be handled safely by any
means at all
Not one of these alternatives is
considered a panacea. Al are either
costly or create some environmental
risks of their own, and none Is appli-
cable to every kind of waste.
Although hazardous waste is often
portrayed as a staggering problem
that almost defies solution, virtually
all experts say it can be solved, given
the will and commitment.
The real problems are not techni-
ca they say but economic, political
an social the nation must decide
how much it is willing to pay and
what level of risk it will tolerate.
PUBLISHED DAILY IN
WEST PALM BEACH, FLORIDA
Dante,.! Marione, J,
Tnona$ A Kell.
Samue J Peoe,
Clarke 8 Asr
SUNDAY, MARCH 20, 1983
Protecting Our Water
The precarious nature of South
Florida's water supply should be
,obvious by now. A year ago the
area was gripped by severe
drought. In the last two months
unseasonable rains have provided
more water than the most sophis-
.ticated management system on
earth can handle. Yet problems
associated with water quantity
pale besides those associated with
Toxic and hazardous wastes.
pesticides. sewage. storm runoff
and salt intrusion are posing dan-
ierous threats to the state's water
i**pplies. Moreover, an estimated
25.000 uncapped, abandoned arte-
s;an wells are transmitting con-
tamination among the surface
a4uifers supplying most of the
state's drinking water.
.In an attempt to protect and
clean up the state's water supply,
a legislative task force has recom-
mended legislation to monitor
-ground water. inventory and plug
abandoned artesian wells, clean
.' p hazardous waste dumps, tight-
.ea' pesticide regulation, spur the
.construction of sewage systems
and limit the installations of septic
.. The task force was created by
House Speaker Lee Moffitt (D-
Tampa) and is headed by former
Miami Rep. Bill Sadowski. Its
package is well-researched and
sound in conception. It is, never-
theless, likely to run into political
trouble. It not only proposes tough
new restrictions on industry, agri-
culture and developers but also
requires $63 million in new taxes
- largely from those same
sources to implement.
For five years a documentary
stamp surtax of $2 per thousand
would be levied on deed transfers.
with revenues earmarked for con-
struction of sewage treatment fa-
cilities. That suggests the tax
might best be described as an im-
A 5 percent tax on the wholesale
value of pesticides and chemicals
would be earmarked for hazard-
ous waste cleanup. Both taxes are
appropriate and neither would
have an adverse impact on the
general public. The general public
surely will pay the bills if the spe-
cial taxes aren't passed. however.
Florida has waited a long time
to confront its water problems. It
cannot wait longer without jeopar-
dizing its people and their future
PUBLISHED DAILY IN
WEST PALM BEACH, FLORIDA
Daniel J Manoney. J"
J L Sarlory
Thomas A Kelly
Samuel J Pepper
MONDAY, MARCH 21, 1983
Saving Florida Coasts
Gov. Bob Graham and a major- the political support typical of
itv of the Florida Cabinet acted beach and recreational land pur-
properly in authorizing a second chases. Authorization to issue
$25 million bond issue under the bonds to purchase environmental-
Save Our Coasts programs. ly endangered lands. for instance.
Sale of the bonds will ensure the is expiring. Moreover. money sim-
acquisition of Hollywood's North ply doesn't accumulate in the con-
Beach. There is not a more endan- servation and recreation lands
gered beach on the urban south- fund fast enough to meet the goals
east coast and its loss to the public of SOC. Without the SOC bond pro-
would have been tragic for area gram. many of the most valuable
residents and tourists, beaches will be developed and also
Fortunately. a Cabinet task lost to public ownership.
force appointed to review the The auditor is correct. however,
state's land purchase programs when he suggests that DNR could
recommended proceeding with the do a better job of estimating its
bond sale. It did so despite charges annual expenditures, and so is
by Rep. Herb Morgan (D-Tallahas- Morgan when he insists on ap-
see) that the Department of Natu- praisals that explain the differ-
ral Resources had mismanaged ence between purchase values and
land purchases, tax assessments.
Morgan's concern apparently 0
stems from an audit revealing $70 Regrettably.-the purchase of an-
million in idle, purchase money. other important beach Lover's
That balance accumulated in the Key near Fort Myers is threat-
aftermath of a bribery scandal ened by a new scandal. The excel-
that resulted in the removal and lent beach ranks second on the
later conviction of then DNR Di- state's priority list but a grand
rector Harmon Shields. Land pur- jury is investigating whether the
chases were shelved while the de- owner's "good-faith offer" of
apartment was reorganized, and $50,000 to an environmental cen-
the ground rules of land purchases ter headed by the wife of local Sen.
were changed drastically follow- Frank Mann (D-Fort Myers) was
ing the lengthy Shields investiga- intended to be a bribe. Mann
tion. The purchase program now quickly reported the offer, which
appears to be back on schedule. came following a dispute over the
If Morgan continues to push for intended purchase price.
the consolidation of the four trust With state officials unable to
funds used to acquire recreational proceed with the purchase, it can
and environmentally endangered be hoped a conservation trust will
lands, the likely result will be to step in to acquire and hold the land
wipe out money for environmen- until the scandal is resolved. Oth-
tally sensitive wetlands, preserva- erwise. Lover's Key could become
tion areas and inland parks. one of those beaches lost to the
Such purchases rarely engender public forever.
Town's water woes spur legislation
to monitor waste disposal closely
By MIKE McQUEEN
With the recent contamination of drinking water in the
tiny Alachua County hamlet of Fairbanks in mind, a House
subcommittee on Tuesday approved legislation that would
expand the state's authority to monitor disposal of wastes.
The Natural Resources subcommittee on Environmen-
tal Quality unanimously passed the measure presented by
the state Department of Environmental Regulation.
Under the measure, the department would require
companies to report the type of wastes they dump on their
Subcommittee Chairman Tom Brown, D-Port Orange,
said the legislation would help monitor such practices as
the dumping suspected of tainting drinking-water wells in
Fairbanks. The source of the contamination, according to
preliminary studies, is a nearby asphalt laboratory used
by the Florida Department of Transportation.
In November, a department safety inspector discov-
ered that since 1978 barrels of waste from the laboratory
had been dumped in a pit on land from which the road
agency extracts dirt and minerals for road construction.
State officials assume the chemicals found in two doz-
ens wells used by Fairbanks residents came from barrels
leaking into the groundwater.
Steve Alexander, a Department of Environmental
Regulation official who worked on the proposed legisla-
tion, said it also would help the state monitor the waste-
disposal methods of all companies.
"We've tried with this (bill) to close that exemption
and prevent someone from disposing of something that
may later be found to be a problem," Alexander said.
The proposed legislation would make an exemption
only for residential waste that someone dumps on his or
her own property.
Another component of the legislation, which was sent
to the full Natural Resources Committee for discussion,
would help protect the drinking water of school systems.
The legislation would amend current law so school
systems that use their own drinking-water wells instead of
municipal water systems could be considered as a part of
the so-called community water systems.
The redefinition, Alexander told the subcommittee.
would allow the state to monitor the schools water system
more frequently for contaminants.
Navy agrees to dispose
of Georgia explosives
By Stephen W. Holland
Tinm-Unim SU Writf
KEYSTONE HEIGHTS The Na-
vy will come to the rescue of a waste
hauler who was having problems dis
posin of 35 pounds of explosive ma-
terials brought from Jesup, Ga.,
where it had been stored by a
Ernie Frey, a hazardous-waste en-
gineer for the Department of Envi-
ronmental Regulations, said yester-
day that the Navy's Explosive Ordi-
nance Disposal attachment at Cecil
Field agreed to detonate the material
Friday at its facility near the Ocala
B&W Services of Keystone Height
had planned to explode the material,
which consists of picric acid and
ether crystals at the Florida Rock &
Tank Lines mines, about five miles
north of Keystone Heights.
But Florida Rock officials citing
fears that such an explosion could af-
fect the value of the property,
changed their minds and ecded not
to permit the disposal at the mine.
The explosives are being stored in
a bomb-disposal truck at Florida
Department of Environmental
Regulatons officials said that al-
though the material is highly explo-
Ave and unstable, it does not pose
any immediate danger to the commu-
Frey said the Navy will pick up the
explosives at Florida Rock and trans-
port them to Ocala.
Until last week the explosives had
been stored at Holley Electric Corp.'s
plant in Jesup. Ga.
They came from an Army base in
A state judge in Georgia ordered
Holley, which is based i Jackson-
ville, to close its hazardous-waste op-
erations in Jesup after the discovery
of PCB contamination at the plant
and the unauthorized storage of ex-
Mel Bishop of B&W Services
hauled the osive chemicals from
Jesup and had arranged with Florida
Rock to destroy the materials.
A secretary at B&W said Bishop
was out of town yesterday and un-
available for comment.
Time for B&W was about to run
Federal law allows the carrier only
10 days to dispose of the wastes.
Frey said B&W's permit for stor-
age would have run out tomorrow but
the Environmental Regulations De-
tartment was in the process of get-
ing a temporary one-day storage
permit until the Navy could haul off
He also said the department will is-
sue a disposal and transport permit to
the Navy so they can move and ex-
plode the materials.
The Navy will pick up the cost of
the operation, Frey said.
"It is DOD [Department of De-
fense] waste and that is a major con-
sideration," be said.
Testing of Fairbanks Wells Criticized
By CARL CRAWFORD
Sun Stafll Writer
Several Fairbanks residents have com-
plained about the handling of the testing
program instituted in recent weeks to de-
termine the contamination by toxle chemi-
cals of private wells In the area.
The residents, who asked not to be iden-
tified, complained that results of tests made
earlier this month have not come back on
time and that the Department of Transpor-
tation won't supply them with bottled wa-
ter. Residents whose wells have been found
to be contaminated are receiving bottled
water from DOT.
The residents also complained about
'short" treatment they've received from
officials handling the testing program.
Carey Pafford, Alachua County's envi-
ronmental health officer, agreed with
complaints from the residents about their
Inability to get water from DOT while they
await the test results. Those test results
should be here by week's end, Pafford said
Tuesday, and he said he understands the
frustration residents feel at the treatment
David Zelgler, DOT's acting project
manager for the Fairbanks clean-up, con-
tradicted residents, however, and said they
can get bottled water even if the test results
are not yet In.
The testing of private wells In Fairbanks
began In late January after DOT officials,
Department of Environmental Regulation
and Department of Health and Rehabilita-
tive Services began investigating possible
contamination of the area's water supply by
chemicals burled in a 10-acre DOT borrow
DOT had been using the pit for several
years to bury 55-gallon drums of waste
chemicals produced at the agency's Waldo
Road testing laboratory when a safety In-
spector became concerned about the prac-
tice in November. The burying of the
drums, as well as the dumping of chemicals
directly onto the ground, was halted then.
In all, 25 wells have been found to be
contaminated by what are described as
very low amounts of chemicals similar to
those buried or poured into the pit. Fair-
banks residents were advised not to drink
water from the contaminated wells.
The 25 contaminated wells are among a
group of 83 wells tested for which results
have been released. Results 66 other tested
wells have not been released, causing con-
cern for residents still drinking water from
Afford said he told some of the con-
cerned residents that results from the tests
would be ready last Monday. But delays at
the DER laboratory In Jacksonville where
the tests are being performed have slowed
down the tests of Fairbanks samples.
"I talked to the lab yesterday (Mon-
day)," Pafford said. "The results will be in
Thursday or Friday, and wells not tested
yet will be tested for the first time Mon-
Afford said the tests are very sophisti-
cated and require special handling. He said
the Jacksonville lab had been busy In re-
cent days as well, slowing down the testing.
A woman whose well had been tested
and found contaminated said she would
"never" deal with Pafford or others In-
volved In the Investigation again because of
"short" treatment she'd received.
Another resident who Is awaiting results
said she had received "short" treatment as
well. "1 also felt I got the runaround," the
Afford responded that residents com-
plaining about how they are treated are
"I don't blame them," he said. "They
have a right to know what's going on."
Afford criticized DOT for not giving
water to the residents waiting on test re-
suits. "Some of those (results) are going to
be positive and the people should have
been drinking bottled water all along,"
Zelgler, filling in for DOT Project Man-
ager Chuck Aller, who Is on vacation, said
water is available for those residents. He
also said DOT Is going to begin "seeking
out" residents who may want to drink the
bottled water Instead of waiting for them to
call DOT offices.
Officials test Gadsden site
for possible chemical waste
By GEORGE THURSTON
SmciaI I rUr Omcm
More than 150 abandoned, rusting
steel drums lie in the Gadsden County
woods just off US. Route 90, their
contents dribbling slowly into a mar-
shy area that drains into the Ochlock-
A faint sweet chemical odor drifts
through the pine woods, originating
in some of the 55-gallon metal con-
Tallahassee oil dealer and refiner
George I. Davis said he dumped the
barrels in a ravine on his family's
property, hoping they would rust
The Florida Department of Envi-
ronmental Regulation, alerted by an
anonymous telephone caller, has con-
tacted Davis, inspected the site, and
requested a prompt cleanup.
"The drums are located in a drain-
age area that gets into the floodplain
of the Ochlockonee River system,"
said Robert Kriegel, Northwest Flor-
ida District Manager for the state en-
"Those drums have been there a
while," he said. "They're in poor con-
dition and rusted out, and stuff is still
leaking into the river-system wet-
"We feel that we have a problem
that must be addressed."
Davis, in a letter mailed to Kriegel
Monday, assured his cooperation.
Labels on the drums say they con-
tain chemical solvents such as meth-
yl ethyl ketone, acetone, ethylene
dichloride and other materials the
Department of Environmental Agen-
cy and the federal Environmental
Protection Agency regard as hazard-
But Kriegel said the labels proba-
bly had no relation to the contents of
the barrels when they were deposit-
He told the Democrat that chemi-
cal analyses of the contents have not
been completed, but that the materi-
als did not appear to be petroleum
"We just don't know, yet, what was
actually in those drums," he said.
'The drums are located in
a drainage area that gets
into the floodplain of the
Davis, who led a Democrat report-
er and photographer to the dump,
agreed that a strong, solvent-like
odor came from some newly rup-
tured drums. But he was unable to
"They were empty when I put
them here," he said.
"The drums were empty when
placed on the site, except for a small
amount of solid residue," Davis wrote
to Kriegel's office. "The solid materi-
als will be treated as hazardous and
disposed of accordingly."
Davis said he originally got the
drums from Eglin Air Force Base,
Tyndall Air Field and other military
establishments. He said the drums
were discards used by the military to
collect used crankcase oil and con-
taminated diesel fuel.
Davis, owner of Davis Refining
Corp., of Tallahassee, formerly oper-
ated a motor-oil-reprocessing plant
that converted discarded automotive
crankcase oil back into high quality
lubricant. Davis picked up used oil
and fuel from many sources to be re-
His plant has been shut down for
more than four years, Davis said.
That's because he was unable to find
a suitable way to dispose of the accu-
mulated solid sludge that he removed
from the oil.
Kriegel said his agency would
prefer that Davis "remove the haz-
ardous materials and restore the site.
We would rather have it done in ami-
cable and cooperative fashion."
Davis said he had recently ob-
tained approval to deposit the sludge
in the Leon County sanitary landfill.
GDecrtm MI wr Mile Itn
George 1. Davis takes closer look at steel drums on his property
68 ST. PETERSBURG TIMES U WEDNESDAY, MARCH 30, 1983
Suit would force hazardous waste cleanup
unm Prm ru"iomN
PENSACOLA The state Department of Environ-
mental Regulation (DER) has filed suit against the owner
of a dump in a move to clean up a hazardous waste site
listed among the 150 most dangerous nationwide.
The suit filed Monday in Escambia County Circuit
payments since he turned 62 in December.
Proctor said the filing of the suit was the next step in
cleaning up the site, which the Environmental Prot-ction
Agency (EPA) lists as one of the 150 worst in the mtion
because it is less than a mile and a half from a drinking
water well. of the Escambia County Utilities Authority.
Court against Walter Dugger, owner of Pioneer Sand Co., THE SITE is not considered an immediate health
asked for an order requiring Dugger to pay for cleanup of hazard because the toxic chemicals have seeped int soil
the dump. According to the suit, the dump leaks toxic and water under the dump but have not spread of the
wastes, including lead, chromium, cadmium, oil and phenol, property.
into ground water. The lawyer said DER and EPA officials must complete
The department also requested that the court fine further tests at the dump to determine the extent ccon-
Dugger $35,000 a day until the site is cleaned up. tamination before beginning a cleanup.
NO HEARING date was set in the case. EPA Superfund money probably will be used to fiance
Despite the demand for payments and fines, attorney the cleanup, and Dugger will repay the state and federal
Mark J. Proctor said Tuesday that Dugger probably would governments as much as possible, Proctor said.
not be forced to pay all the costs of the cleanup because he Dugger has said that he dumped waste-water treanent
is destitute. plant sludge from Pensacola Naval Air Station froi No-
"He's been out of business. Mr. Dugger, unfortunately, vember 1977 until March 1978 without the prope state
does not have the financial ability to clean up the site him- permits and that he failed to file reports on the condion of
self," Proctor said. ground water at the dump, Proctor said.
Dugger said he went out of business in 1981 when the "After cleanup, we have agreed to sell the property and
DER refused to give him a permit for dumping non- pay the proceeds to the DER and the Environmentj Pro-
hazardous rubbish at the sand pit in southwest Escambia tection Agency. That's what everybody is interested m,
County. He said he has been living on Social Security getting the site cleaned up," Proctor said.
Polk legislators declare war
on Orlando wastewater plan
IOM CnnsaT mmCXS
TALLAHASSEE Orlando's plans
to pump treated wastewater into the
underground water supply spurred
two Polk County legislators Tuesday
to introduce legislation that would
"I simply don't want to drink Orlan-
do's effluent," said Fred C. Jones, an
The legislation is the first concrete
threat to the 580 million experimental
conservation project, which would
treat wastewater to federal drinking
water standards, then pump it 600 feet
into the Floridan aquifer.
A plant at Orlando International
Airport would treat 12 million gallons
of wastewater a day.
City officials and the state Depart-
ment of Environmental Regulation,
like the idea be-
cause it would ex-
pand the city's
polluting lakes and
streams. It also
would recycle wa-
ter, rather than in.
ject it into a river
system that eventu-
ally leads to the m
Cocoa Beach and Belle Isle officials
already have objected, fearing the
plant would contaminate drinking
water wells the cities own. The Flor-
ida chapter of the American Water
Works Association, a professional
group, also opposes the plan.
Jones said he and Sen. Bob Craw-
ford, a Winter Haven Democrat who
filed an identical bill in the Senate,
would "bust our buns" to pass the leg-
islation against the plan.
"I don't want some dumb operator
to open the wrong valve in the middle
of the night and drop untreated
sewage water into the aquifer," Jones
In other legislative action Tuesday:
A House subcommittee approved
a bill to expand state monitoring of
The Natural Resources subcommit-
tee on environmental quality passed a
bill requiring companies with a sys-
tem for disposing of wastes on their
property to report the type of waste to
Subcommittee Chairman Tom
Brown, a Port Orange Democrat, said
the legislation would help monitor
such practices as the discovery that
drinking water wells in Fairbanks
were tainted with chemicals.
The source of the contamination,
according to preliminary studies, is a
nearby asphalt laboratory used by the
Florida Department of Transportation.
The House Higher Education
Committee approved legislation to
revamp Florida's community college
system to increase state control.
If enacted, the bill would create a
state board for the 28 community col-
leges similar to the one managed by a
chancellor and Board of Regents that
oversees state universities.
In addition, the bill would declare
academics as the primary purpose of
community colleges, require entering
students to meet basic-skills standards
in math and communication, and
transfer most remedial education
courses from community colleges to
public high schools by 1990.
Black committee members tried to
delay the phaseout of remedial
classes. White legislators argued that
public colleges shouldn't be teaching
high school material.
In some colleges, more than half the
students are taking remedial courses.
Supreme Court Justice Ben Over-
ton made a strong pitch for court-
sanctioned mediation to settle child
custody cases outside a courtroom.
Overton told the consumer, probate
and family law subcommittee of the
House Judiciary Committee that such
a program has worked well in Califor-
nia and has made property settle-
ments in divorce cases easier.
"We see this as an alternative to the
adversary relationship of the court-
room. I look at it as eventually being a
major court function," he said.
Overton, chairman of the Supreme
Court Matrimonial Law Commission,
also outlined other divorce-related
recommendations, including the sepa-
ration of custody and property issues,
uniform standards for child support
payments and tighter enforcement of
alimony and child-support payments.
A House Judiciary subcommittee
proposed a constitutional amendment
*that would open proceedings' of the
state's 26 judicial nomination commis-
sions to the public.
The amendment, however, would
allow the Legislature by a three-fifths
vote in each house to enact exceptions
to the open meeting rule.
There now isn't any consistent poli-
cy on public access to the commission,
which recommends candidates for
judgeships to the governor. Each com-
mission can establish its own rules.
Similar legislation has been
approved by House committees for the
last several years, but Senate commit-
tees have killed such proposals.
More on Fairbanks, Page 12A.
By MIKE McQUEEN
Associated Press Writer
TALLAHASSEE With the re-
cent contamination of drinking water
around Fairbanks in mind, a House
subcommittee on Tuesday approved
legislation that would expand the
state's authority to monitor disposal
The Natural Resources subcom-
mittee on Environmental Quality
unanimously passed the measure
presented by the state Department of
Under the measure, the depart-
ment wants companies with a system
for disposing of wastes on their own
property to report the type of waste
to the state.
Subcommittee Chairman Tom
Brown. D-Port Orange, said the legis-
lation would help monitor such prac-
tices as the discovery that drinking
water wells in Fairbanks were taint-
ed with chemicals.
Steve Alexander, a DER official
who worked on the proposed legisla-
tion, said it would also help the state
monitor the waste disposal methods
of all companies.
"We've tried with this (bill) to
close that exemption and prevent
someone from disposing of something
that may later found to be a prob-
lem," Alexander said.
The proposed legislation would an
exemption only for residential waste
that someone disposes of on their
Another component of the legisla-
tion, which was sent to the full Natu-
ral Resources Committee for discus-
sion, would help protect the drinking
water of school systems.
The legislation would amend cur-
rent law to let school systems that use
their own drinking-water wells in-
stead of drawing it from municipal
water systems be considered as a
pan of the so-called community wa-
The redefinition, Alexander told
the subcommittee, would allow the
state to monitor the schools' water
system more frequently for contami-
Currently, the water systems of
schools using their own wells is moni-
tored every five years, Alexander
said. Under the proposal, It would be
shortened to every three years.
Alexander said several school
systems, most of them in rural coun-
ties, use their own drinking-water
Extend ban on Temik
SThe tainted town of Times Beach,
Mo., is being abandoned a decade after
the first complaints were made about
possible chemical contamination in the
area. In 1973, toxic wastes like dioxin,
the chemical byproduct of a germicide,
were disposed of casually because their
potency was not fully understood.
In its aftermath, the tale of Times
Beach can be described as a story of bu-
reaucratic inertia and buck-passing and
of scientific uncertainty in a realm where
certainty is always elusive.
Florida officials, who are this week
contemplating whether to continue a ban
against the use of the pesticide Temik,
should pay close attention to the Times-
Beach experience. Agriculture Commis-
sioner Doyle Conner, who banned Temik
in January after it was found in unsafe
levels in several drinking-water wells,
must now decide whether to:
v Let the ban expire April 18, as
requested by Florida citrus growers.
w Restrict the use of Temik to li-
w Continue the ban and allow scien-
tists time to thoroughly study its effects.
The last option is clearly the wisest
choice. Citrus growers who argue they
cannot grow a product that anyone can
afford unless they can fight pests with
Temik and Union Carbide officials who
argue their pesticide is simply a conve-
nient target for anxieties about chemical
poisoning shouldn't be so shortsighted.
If Temik proves a decade from now
to have poisoned Florida's water supply.
those industries would find themselves on
the unfortunate end of lawsuits with legal
costs that could far exceed the tempo-
rary losses they might bear until a substi-
tute for Temik is developed or until the
chemical is proven to be safe.
Florida's precious water supply is so
close to the surface that it is always in
jeopardy of contamination. The state
cannot take any chances on allowing a
tragedy because it is buck-passing or po-
litically trying to please. The ban on
Temik should remain in place until thor-
ough tests can be completed.
Justice to file lawsuit
in toxic-waste cleanup
WASHINGTON The Justice De-
partment plans to file a lawsuit next
month seeking millions of dollars in
cleanup costs from some or all of
more than 200 companies that had
dumped toxic wastes at the Stringfel-
low Acid Pits, near Riverside, Calif.
Potential defendants in the lawsuit
include several large companies with
ties to present and former adminis-
Carol E. Dinkins, head of the Jus-
tice Department's Division of Land
and Natural Resources, said in a tele-
phone interview Tuesday that secret
negotiations with those companies,
began last fall, had broken down this
"We weren't able to work out a
settlement agreement so we are pro-
ceeding to draw up a complaint," she
The 22-acre site, one of the nation's
most dangerous toxic-waste dumps,
has been at the center of allegations
that the Reagan administration ma-
nipulated financing for toxic-waste
cleanup to influence November's
Last September, the Environmen-
tal Protection Agency referred the
case against companies that had
dumped at Stringfellow to the Justice
Department for possible litigation
under the 1980 federal Superfund
statute for cleaning up toxic-waste
dumps, Dinkins said.
While the costs of cleaning up the
Stringfellow site have not been ascer-
tained, she said they would be consid-
erably higher than the $6.1 million
the EPA had planned to award the
state last summer. The costs could
run as high as $40 million, she said.
Dinkins said "we are going to sue
enough people to protect the govern-
'We are going to sue
enough people to
... we would expect to
seek 100 percent of the
ment's interests," and, "we would ex-
pect to seek 100 percent of the
cleanup costs" from the companies
that dumped toxic wastes.
The allegations of political manip-
ulation center on the abrupt decision
last July by Anne M. Burford, who
resigned as head of the EPA this
month, to stop a planned award of
$6.1 million in federal money to help
the state pay for cleaning up the site.
EPA employees and congressional
investigators have alleged that the
reason for stopping the award was to
avoid helping former California Gov.
Edmund G. Brown Jr.'s Democratic
campaign for the Senate. Congressio-
nal investigators are in California
this week seeking more evidence.
Meanwhile, federal documents in-
dicated Tuesday that John A. Todhun-
ter, while a top EPA official,
intervened with another government
agency about a contract he allegedly
mismanaged in his earlier job as a
The contract Todhunter inquired
about was being canceled because of
what Food and Drug Administration
officials considered his sloppy scien-
One of five high-ranking EPA offi-
cials who resigned under fire last
week, Todhunter was in charge of
regulating poisonous chemicals in the
According to an internal Food and
Drug Administration memo, Todhun-
ter called Sanford A. Miller, director
of the drug agency's Bureau of Foods.
a year ago and asked why the agency
would not take a more lenient ap-
proach in canceling the contract than
the agency's contracting officer was
The more lenient approach a
step the agency later took put To-
dhunter's former employer, Andrulis
Research Corp. of Bethesda, Md., in
position to receive additional pay-
ments on the contract.
In an interview, Todhunter said he
did not recall contacting the agency
about the Andrulis contract, although
adding that it was "entirely possible
that the subject came up in a conver-
sation with Miller, who Todhunter
said he spoke with often.
Todhunter also denied that the
work on the contract he did for An-
drulis was done sloppily.
There is no evidence that Todhun-
ter had a continuing financial stake
in Andrulis at the time of the tele-
In another development, it was
learned that John W. Hernandez. the
acting head of the EPA who also re-
signed last week, has been hired by
the Energy Department as a $245-a-
Hernandez is under congressional
investigation for his contacts with
chemical companies during his two
years as deputy administrator at
The Cosme-Odessa wellfield in northwest
Hillsborough County supplies more than a fourth of
St. Petersburg's water.
St. Peterebur Times
plans to cite city 4
By MLO GEYELIN
St. Petrobulr Tines Staln Writer
CLEARWATER Hillaborough County
environmental officials plan to cite St. Peters-
burg for environmental violations because a
water wellfield the city owns in Hillsborough is
being used a a local garbage dump.
The wellfield, known as the Coesme-Odessa
wellfield in northwest Hillsborough County,
supplies more than a fourth of St. Petersburg's
water. The 36 wells near Race Track Road and
Gunn Highway occupy about 660 acres of wild
and scenic lakefront thick with oak, pine and
BUT FRESH tire ruts from four-wheel-
drive trucks now wind through the woods near
the lake. The area is littered with mounds of raw
garbage, construction debris, rusty automobile
parts, rain-soaked cardboard boxes and several
empty 56-gallon drums labeled "Chem-Tex."
Bill Johnson, director of utilities for St. Pe-
tersburg, says the garbage and trash do not pose
a health hazard to St. Petersburg's drinking
water because none of the debris has been
"It's an aesthetic problem," said Johnson,
after touring the area Tuesday afternoon.
Illegal dumping has always been a nuisance
at the wellfield, lolhnson said. But it became
. J 44*-4V(ak.
'If i had a legitimate witness, we'd go after the people who
dumped. ... We face that dilemma all the time. We find property
with junk on it, but lacking any other witness on how it got there,
we have to go with the property owner.'
worse a year and a half ago after Hillaborough
County closed its largest landfill in northwest
Hillsborough County, he said.
Now, residents in northwest Hillaborough
County don't have a nearby garbage dump. At
the same time, St. Petersburg doesn't have
enough manpower at its Cosme-Odessa pump-
ing station to police the wellfield against illegal
dumpers, Johnson said.
"IT'S CONVENIENT," said William
Lester, a local resident who wants the dumping
stopped. "You go in and you dump it."
"It's our property, yet how can we control
it?" Johnson asked. Two weeks ago, the utilities
department repainted the metal housings on the
wells. By last week, Johnson said, half a dozen of
the covers had been spray-painted with graffiti.
"If I had a legitimate witness, we'd go after
the people who dumped," said Roger Stewart,
director of the Hillslmrough County Environ-
mental Protection Commission. The commis-
Hillsborough environmental official
sion is in the process of formally notifying St.
Petersburg of the illegal dumping and request-
ing that the trash be removed.
"We face that dilemma all the time. We fine
property with junk on it, but lacking any other
witness on how it got there, we have to go with
the property owner," Stewart said.
THERE IS no fine attached to the cita-
tion, but St. Petersburg could have to pay as
much as $10,000 to send in a work crew to clean
up the debris, Johnson said. Afterward, the city
will have to decide what to do to keep the area
safe from garbage dumpers.
No-trespassing signs are ignored and fences
are routinely torn down or stolen, Johnson said.
A possible solution, he said, might be to turn the
area into a recreation area.
"It's a gorgeous tract of land," he said. "If we
have people on the site, (the dumping) will stop
... within reason."
THE LEDGER/Tuesday. March 29. 1983
By Avie Schneider
TALLAHASSEE A bill filed Mon-
day by Rep. Fred Jones that would
prohibit the pumping of sewage into the
underground drinking-water supply
serving most of Central Florida has
caught Orlando officials off guard.
"You're kidding." said Bob Haven, the
city's public works director, when told
of the bill sponsored by the Auburndale
Democrat Sen. Bob Crawford, D-Winter
Haven, said he's filing a similar bill.
If passed, the bill would overturn
tentative state approval for an Orlando
proposal to inject treated wastewater
into the Floridan Aquifer, which pro-
vides most of the area's drinking water.
Proponents of the bill want to pre-
vent the controversial discharge plan
from being used by other cities, includ-
ing Lakeland, which is facing a state
requirement to stop disposing of its
treated sewage into Banana Lake, south of the city, by
"I'm surprised," Haven said.
"I thought we would handle this on a technical basis"
instead of having the issue debated by the Legislature, he
The state has ordered Orlando to stop discharging by
1988 about 13 million gallons of sewage daily into Shingle
Creek, which flows into Lake Tobopekaliga, the northern-
most water body of the Kissimmee lake chain on Polk's
eastern border. The city is looking for alternative ways of
getting rid of its sewage.
Jones' proposal was suggested by Everett Kinloch, Bar-
tow's water and wastewater superintendent Kinloch is also
secretary-treasurer of the Florida section of the American
Waterworks Association, which he said includes 33.00
members nationwide. The group, which includes some
water-supply researchers, feels that "federal and state
drinking water laws don't adequately protect the supply
source," he said.
State -Department of Environmental Regulation Secre-
tary Vickie Tschinkel has given Orlando conceptual ap-
proval for the aquifer pumping plan, which Kinloch called
"an experimental process that seems a little bit chancy."
Kinloch said that although several stages of treatment
and monitoring would be used, "we object (to the sewage
being dumped into) the underwater potable supplies,"
which are nearly impossible to clean once contaminated.
But Haven insists that the $80 million advanced waste
treatment and water treatment system is a "very viable
project" and a "fail-safe system."
"I would feel safe drinking water from the (treatment
plant)," he said. But, Haven added, the aquifer injection
plan is used to combat the "public perception that. 'Ugh!
I'm drinking sewage."
Haven said plans call for disinfecting the sewage twice
and holding it in tanks for testing before deep-ground injec-
tion. If the waste is found not to meet state standards it
can be placed in a holding pond for seven days, where it
could be treated again. Haven said DER has approved a
back-up plan that would allow the sewage to be disposed of
on the surface if it's not adequately treated.
Kinloch said that if the treated material is that good.
that's precisely what he and other association members
would like to see done with it
Kinloch said his group is scheduled to meet with Ms.
Tschinkel or her staff here Thursday to present a technical
argument against the discharge plan. Ms. Tschinkel could
not be reached for comment
"Our real question of DER is: Why can't it go back into
surface water streams?" Kinloch said.
"If it's that clean, it ought to flow down the Kissimmee
River so that you could monitor it," Jones said.
At Kinloch's urging, the Bartow City Commission passed
a resolution last November opposing the discharge into the
Haven questioned Bartow's interest in the issue.
"I don't know what the hell Bartow's got to do with Or-
lando," he said. "We're 100 miles away and certainly what
we do here is not going to have an impact on them if we do
But Kinloch said, "I am concerned as a responsible per-
son in charge of our water supply."
He said that if the DER decision stands, it could set a
precedent allowing other municipalities to do the same
"My concern is they (state officials) may look at this and
say, 'Why not in Lakeland?'"
12A SUN1ENTINL. Thursday, March 31, 193
Levees may come down
to save Everglades Park
By Marion Phelps "We're concentrating more on the west side of
eaimrr i wrrw Water Conservation Area 3 along levee 28 and the L-
Some walls may come tumbling down Tuesday 7 etensio," said corps hydrologist Carol White.
after the South Florida Water Management District Levee 2 directs water in the southern half of
answers pleas from Everglades National Park off Water Conservation Area 3 toward seven gates that
acis to save the park from ran. control the amount of water flowing into the park.
Members of the district's governing board are ex- Thpark suggested that the district remove substan-
pected to approve alterations to at least 24 mile of tipart of the 20-mile levee so water could follow
levees that block natural wt into l the p its natural southwesterly course into Big Cypress
and Big Cypress National Preserve. National' Preserve. The change would reduce the
"We're delighted" said Rick Smith Everglades amount of water funneled into the park during high
National Park assistant superintendent, after he water peiods.
learned of the special meeting called for 30 a.. at The L7 extension is a levee that blocks water
the district's West Palm Beach headquarters from moving east just after it enters the park. The
Park officials presented seven proposals to the park ld hat the souther ost four miles of the
district there weeks ago, claiming thepark'segeta. levee be removed completely so water would enter
tion and wildlife wil suffer reversible harm if the p more naturally ad slowly.
physical alterations are not made to the system of Whil the district is ready to talk busne, the
levees and canals that direct water into the 2 agency's spokeswoman. Sheila Middaugh, said the
square-mile park within one year. district i not to go a far the p
While the district may not go as far as park quetd.
officials want in terms of permanent solutions "We "We're talking about plugs in spots instead of fill-
can get moving right away o some of the options," ing in canals completely and we are talking about
said district Deputy Director Joh Wodrask (decreasing the heights of) levees instead of taking
A decade-long pattern of irregular water deliveries them down" she said.
to Everglades National Park have upset, and in some f approved, the physical alterations should make
cases halted, mating patterns of many animal species conditions in the park reflect more accurately what is
including some on the federal endangered species happening in nature
list. The proposed changes also would lend more ere.
Record South Florida rainfall recently compounded dence to a plan to restore the Everglades espoused by
the harm. flooding the park during what is the nor- most environmental organizations within the state.
mal, dry winter season and harming vegetation. Written by Arthur Marshall, the plan calls for a
When damage became o severe that endangered return to natural sheet flow, unimpeded by levees,
species stepped closer to extinction, park officials through what remains of the original Everglades.
called for immediate remedies and dropped a patient Marshall and many other environmentalists claim
strategy of waiting for the US. Army Corps of Engi- sheet flow the tortuously slow flow of water that
neers to complete a new water supply plan for South occurred from Lake Okeechobee to Florida Bay be.
Florida in 1984. fore man attempted to tame the Everglades with
So far, the district and the corps concur that two of canals and dike is the only su cure for the vast
the park's proposals have the most promise for im- wetland that supports fewer and fewer wild animals
mediate action. each year.
Retain Temik Ban
LORIDA'S agriculture commission-
er, Doyle Conner, ought to extend
his ban on the use of aldicarb,
which Union Carbide markets under the
trade name Temik. He's expected to de-
cide the issue this week.
Temik has been used by citrus grow-
ers and potato farmers. It has been cred-
ited with significant increases in produc-
tivity. Unfortunately, traces of Temik
have begun to appear in Florida's water
supplies. Similar finds have led to Tern-
ik's banning in New York and Wiscon-
As Commissioner Conner noted dur-
ing a recent hearing on Temik. Florida
needs to "take a time out". until it has
more facts about Temik. At present.
there are too many unanswered ques-
tions about it.
Scientists aren't even sure, for in-
stance, how much Temik is too much. Or
whether harmful quantities of the pesti-
cide could get into underground aqui-
fers. Or even if it's harmful to bees, as
some beekeepers suspected after many
of their bees died near groves.
What is known is that Florida cur-
rently has only a limited ability to moni-
tor the quality of its drinking water. A
task force on water expressed its con-
cern about this, and legislative help may
be on the way. In the meantime, though,
monitoring is sketchy.
Similarly, regulations concerning the
handling of toxic chemicals are not
strictly enforced. Licensing is required.
for example, to handle the herbicide pa-
raquat. Yet three Floridians have died
from exposure to paraquat during the
past year and none of the victims was
licensed to use it.
So permitting the use of Temik under
carefully prescribed conditions amounts
to having no regulation at alL With the
possibility that the state's drinking
water could be irreversibly contaminat-
ed, the stakes are too high to run that
risk until all the facts are in.
Research may confirm that Temik is
as safe as its manufacturer claims. And
it may confirm as well that there are
other substances polyvinyl chloride.
for instance that are more dangerous
but less publicized than Temik as a po-
tential containinant of water.
For the sake of the parties on both
sides of the Temik controversy, the state
should expedite its efforts to find out the
facts. In the meantime, however, the ban
should be extended.
11 More Contaminated Wells Found
By CARL CRAWFORD
Sue Staff Writer
Eleven more private wells In Fairbanks have
been found to be contaminated with toxic chemi-
cals, raising to 36 the number of wells believed
poisoned by chemicals leaking from a buried
Department of Transportation dump north of the
The new results, plus more Information about
progress on cleaning up the contamination of the
water supply in Fairbanks, will be discussed In a
meeting at the Fairbanks Baptist Church this
morning. State and county officials set the meet-
nag for 11:30.
U.S. Rep. Buddy MacKay of Ocala is sched-
uled to tour the DOT borrow pit with Alachua
County Commission Chairman John Schroepfer
before the meeting.
Carey Pafford, Alachua County's environmen-
tal health officer, said the results of tests on 70
wells, expected on Monday, were delayed be-
cause of a backlog of work at state Department of
Environmental Regulation laboratories doing the
testing In Jacksonville, but the results were re-
ceived late Wednesday. Owners of the 11 newly
found contaminated wells were contacted and
DOT began providing them with bottled water.
Some of the residents who received the latest
batch of bad news said they thought the results
"regrettable" or "unfortunate" and were con-
cerned about the value of their property If they
decided to sell and move out.
C.V. Mize said he has lived in his home across
the street from the Baptist Church for 25 years
and owned much of the property In the.area at
one time. "I'm not worried about myself too
much. Hell, I'm 75 years old," Mize said. "But it's
these young folks out here, struggling and paying
for their homes."
Dale Beck, a Fairbanks resident for 28 years,
said the biggest problem state officials have had
with the contamination Is not keeping the resi-
dents Informed. "I think it's very unfortunate that
the whole thing has happened." be said.
Beck said he also Is worried about the future
water supply for the area. "Who's going to pay for
(Sun Graphic by Rudy Young) (Source; National Weather Service, Jacksnville)
This chart shows water levels at monitoring stations On the Friday, the forecast crests by the National Weather Service
Suwannee and Santa Pe rivers. Wavy lines represent "flood lev- were: White Sprlngs, slow fall ever next few days Ellavllle, near
el" at nch station. Solid lines represent water levels registered 52 feet ever next few days; Branord, 28-29 feet ever next few
en previous weeks with the top lne showing the level recorded as days; Wilcox, 11-13 feet over next few days; Managee Springs, 8-9
e 9a.m. Thursday. This chart will appear at least once a week In leet ever next few days; Three Rivers Estates, 24-25 f(*t over
the Sun *-**"" .rr levels subside. All levels are the distance next few days; and U.S. 129 Bridge. near 24 feet ever next few
ve..e mean sea level. Flood levels ore different at each station days. Dally water level readings are available from Ihe Suwan-
becausr the banks along the river vary In height. Generally, the nee River Wafer Management Distrlct, Live Oak, 36-1001.
riverbank heights decrease as the river approaches the Gulf. On
I-f- A- -H a L-14 ---At
R d workers me ear movers iTursaay n e en. .= = -.. -. -.. ..-.--
ead ng Department of Transportation burrow pit north to have been contaminated by toxic chemicals
The Pit of Fairbanks The workers were lifting back a in the area. Story oa Pape IA.
layer of dirt to expose the next area of search
the property when we go to sell it?" he asked..
Doug Colle said he has not drunk any water
from his well for six weeks and has been expect-
ing bad news. I'm very upset, but it's out of our
hands," Colle said.
For at least six years DOT has been burying
55-gallon drums of used chemicals from Its Waldo
Road laboratory in a 10-acre borrow pit north of
Fairbanks. Three particularly toxic chemicals
have been buried in the pit Very low concentra-
tions of the chemicals have been showing up in
Bulldozers and other large earthmovers were
at work in the pit Thursday lifting back a layer of
dirt to expose the next area of search for buried
David Zeigler, acting project manager for
DOT, said the search of the pit should be finished,
and a firm hired to remove the drums for dispos-
al will begin its work Monday.
Meanwhile, Schroepfer said he ordered coun-
Sty attorney Dennis Long to draft a county hazard-
ous-waste-control ordinance. He said the law
would require local businesses producing poten-
tially harmful wastes to record what wastes they
are producing, how much they produce, where
they store it and how it is disposed of.
Navy to dispose of explosives
transported from Jesup plant
By Steve Holland
Times-Union Seff Wrter
A bomb-disposal truck with 25
pounds of explosives was brought to
Ce Field yesterday where the Na-
vy planned to dispose of the material
Mell Bishop, owner of B.W. Ser-
vices of Keystone Heights, took his
load of pcric acid and ether crystals
to Cecil Field yesterday at about 2:30
The delivery apparently ended a
saga in which the explosives previ-
ously traveled from an arsenal in
New Jersey to the Jesup, Ga, plant
owned by Jacksonville-based Holley
Electric Corp, then to a Florida Rock
and Tank Lines mine about five miles
north of Keystone Heights then to a
farm outside Gainesville.
The last trip from Keystone
Heights to Archer on Wednesday -
caught state and Clay County offi-
cals by surprise, and the explosive
materials were considered missing
for 20 hours.
But yesterday, both Bishop and of-
ficials of the Florida Department of
Environmental Regulation (DER)
said it was a lack of communication
on both sides.
"The big problem was we just
missed communications in here
somehow," said Dick Vogh a DER
manager in Gainesville. "Men didn't
know what arrangements we had
made, and we didn't know what ar-
rangements Men had made."
"We do notify DER when some-
thing like this happens just so they
can say, 'Yes, we know where it (ex-
plosives] is,' Bishop said. "Yester-
day there was apparently a break
down in communications somewhere
between my office and theirs."
The explosive materials which
Bishop said were closer to 25 pounds
than the 35 estimated by the DER -
were to have been destroyed at the
mines, but Florida Rock officials
changed their minds because neigh-
bors expressed concern.
But DER officials and Bishop said
*the explosive posed little danger.
Bishop said that if the materials had
detonated, it would have been a small
"The people at the office of Florida
Rock wouldn't even have heard the
explosion," he said. "It certainly
would not have done any damage to
Bishop said be knew Tuesday that
the Navy could take the material, but
was told by his office that t would be
today before the Navy could pick it
This posed a problem for Bishop.
Federal law allows a carter only 10
days to dispose of such wastes:
B.W.'s 10th day was yesterday.
So Bishop said be located another
site at the farm in Alachua County.
Vogb said Bishop tired to contact
him Wednesdayy night, but that Vogh
was in Jacksonville.
"I think it's a big joke personally,"
Bishop said yesterday. "We were to-
tally within all of the legalities."
Bishop said the materials, byprod-
ucts from the manufacture of explo-
sives, came to the Holley plant in Jes-
up from the federal Picatinny
Arsenal in New Jersey.
Bishop was hired by Holley to dis-
pose of the materials.
A truck hauling explosive materials was parked
behind a Keystone Heights company on Wed-
nesday. The truck brought its load yesterday to
Cecil Field in Jacksonville for disposal.
not to fear
By John Harmon
Time-Unin Sltw Writer
JESUP, Ga. State and federal
environmental officials told Jesup
residents last night that there was no
immediate health hazard from PCBs
spilled m recent weeks at the Honey
Electric Corp. plant
The officials appeared at a public
briefing organized by U.S. Rep. Lind-
say Thomas, D-Screven, who moder-
ated the information session.
Leonard Ledbetter, Georgia Envi-
ronmental Protection Division direc-
tor. said his personnel had sampled
neighborhood wells surrounding Hol-
lev Electric including shallow
wells used for gardening and had
found no contamination from the tox-
Ic polychlorinated biphenyls.
"We caught the problem early and
we have not found any contamination
of any wells And that is a good Indi-
cation that the material has not been
in the environment long enough to
move away from the property [Holley
Electric]." Ledbetter said. He cau-
tioned, however, that the chemicals
could have become a serious hazard
if the spills had been allowed to con-
tinue occurring in small amounts
over a long penod of time.
Thomas Devine of the US. Envi-
ronmental Protection Agency also
said there was no immediate health
hazard. He said the state environ-
mental division was doing a good job
handling the problem and the EPA
would support them with any techni-
cal procedures necessary.
Also sitting on the panel last nght
was Georgia Attorney General Mi-
Jesup Mayor Joel Greene told the
audience of about 75 Wayne County
residents that blood tests will be giv-
en next week by state health officials
to people who were employed by Hol-
ley Electric and to nearby residents
as a precautionary measure to detect
possible levels of PCB ingestion.
Holey Electric, a Jacksonville-
based company, is under a Superior
Court order to remove all hazardous
wastes and PCB-contaminated mate-
nal from its Jesup plant by midnight
About 3,800 gallons of PCB-
contaminated materials were re-
moved last week from the plant and
more was removed yesterday. Led.
better said more remains, though he
did not say how much.
Dirt contaminated by PCB spills
remains in the plant storage yard and
along an alley and ditches adjacent to
Two Wayne County residents asked
the panel of state and federal envi-
ronmental experts whether there
were any problems associated with
the illegal dumping of PCBs in the
Wayne County landfill, an action that
former Honey employees said they
Moses McCall, head of land protec-
tion for the Environmental Protec-
tion Division, said that he expected no
problems but that the landfill was be-
ig monitored for any contamination
"We don't expect any problems
there because it is one of the best-
operated landfills in the state," Mc-
The Orlando Sentinel, Saturday. April 2. 1983 B-3 .
11 more wells found
tainted by chemicals
near DOT dump site'
By Jay Mallin
spec. To me SaTmeN
FAIRBANKS A new round
of tests has found that 11 more
wells in this tiny community
northeast of Gainesville are con-
taminated with toxic chemicals,
raising the number of tainted pri-
vate wells to 3Q.
The drinking wells have been
contaminated with chemicals
dumped in a borrow pit by a near-
by state Department of Transpor-
tation laboratory. Health workers
began testing for contamination
from the pit earlier this year,
after a DOT safety inspector quest.
tioned the practice of dumping.
They have discovered trichlor-
ethane, dichlorethane and dichlor-
ethylene in the well water. All
three are known to cause liver
and kidney damage.
Carey Tafford, with the Alachua
County Health Department, said
the list of polluted wells may
grow after more tests are
Tafford said health workers are
testing wells progressively farther
from the dump site to find how
far the contamination extends.
"We are just going to keep
moving on out," until the perim-
eter of the problem has been
found, Tafford said.
Meanwhile, contractors hired''-
by the state are in the early
phases of cleaning up the dump.
The first stage is expected to cot-:
about $250,000, and officials pre@-
dict later work could be even-'
At a town meeting in Fairbanks
on Friday, DOT project manager.
Dave Zeigler said one company is
surveying the pit with metal de
sectors to locate the estimated SO
barrels buried there. He said an.
other company will begin un"
earthing the barrels next week.
While Zeigler said it will take.
only about two weeks to remove
the buried barrels, that will not
solve the water contamination,
problem. Officials working on the
cleanup estimate it will be about
a year before the Fairbanks water
The DOT is delivering bottled
water to families in the area
whose wells are suspect. -
The town meeting was the first
in what is to become a weekly
series arranged so that officials;.
can keep residents informed
about the cleanup.
'We are doing everything we:
know how to do,' Zeigler assured
residents who packed a small
church in Fairbanks for the.
By SUSAN DeFORD
m .r C.a WIM b %wauu
The agenda of environmental issues before the Legisla-
ture this spring contains some of the most far-reaching
proposals Florida lawmakers have seen in a decade.
They include new taxes to pay for sewage-treatment
facilities and hazardols-waste cleanup, proposals to res-
tructure how the state buys land and new restrictions on the
state's marine resources.
Rep. John Mills, D-Gainesville, says there hasn't been
this much proposed environmental legislation since the
early 1970s, when many of the state's environmental laws
"A lot of it's because the issues have become timely,"
said Mills, who as chairman of the House Natural Re-
sources Committee will try to shepherd many of the pro-
posals through the Legislature.
Mills will try to capitalize on public concern aroused by
revelations of the federal government's bungled hazard-
ous-waste cleanup program.
"Hazardous waste and water quality are the issues
most visible to the public," he said. "The Legislature will
feel obligated to respond to them."
Much of this session's environmental legislation was
originally proposed by a special House panel that studied
Florida's water problems.
The panel's recommendations, recently announced af-
ter a year and a hall of study, include the following:
v A 5-percent, wholesale-level tax on the generators'of
chemicals and pesticides. The tax would raise up to $13
million for hazardous-waste cleanup.
v A five-year, documentary-stamp surcharge of 20
cents per $100 value to raise O million a year for new
COMING TO THE RESCUE OF THE
& Strengthening the Department of Environmental
Regulation's authority to monitor and protect surface and
ground water, including the ability to ban or limit pesticide
Sw Directing the state's five water-management dis-
tricts to plug 25,000 artesian wells that threaten to pollute
Mills says it won't be easy-going for some of these bills.
Already, lobbyists for business interests such as the Florida
Home Builders Association are lining up against the legis-
And those programs that rely on new taxes for financ-
ing will have to win over legislative leaders suddenly cau-
tious about more spending.
"These proposals are not going to be universally popu-
lar," Mills said. "We're just going to have to show this isn't a
narrow, parochial issue."
While legislation on Florida's water problems is wide
ranging, it will have to compete for lawmakers' attention
with other environmental topics.
Spurred by Rep. Herb Morgan, D-Tallahassee, and his
complaints that Florida mismanages its land buying, legis-
lative committees have proposed changing how the state
buys land for parks and conservation.
Among those changes are imposing confidentiality on
state appraisals of properties under negotiation for pur-
chase. Present law opens those appraisals, used to deter-
mine the state's highest offer, to public record.
Other reforms include requiring the $200-million Save
Our Coast program to adopt the same strict site-selection
procedures now used for the Conservation and Recreation
Save Our Coast, a program in which the state buys land
for public parks and conservation, recently drew criticism
when the governor and Cabinet moved the possible pur-
chase of a barren dredge and fill property to the top of the
In an effort to streamline state land buying, some legis-
ansanf-I[Tum aqm PUTe avj qtlaq 'uon onpa 'uo.riziU
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According to the Environmental Protection Agency,
Florida has more groundwater-threatening
hazardous waste dumps than any state in the nation.
Florida's Water Becoming Dirtier
Eighth In a Series.
By ED GEORGE
Sun Capitol Bureau
TALLAHASSEE When the soaking spring
rains fell over the gently rolling north Florida
hills In March 1964, the people of Gainesville got
sick violently sick.
According to Environmental Protection Agen-
cy documents marked "confidential" and not
made public until years later, there were 10,000
reported cases of a strong Intestinal tract virus
during a iwo-week period in Galnesville.
Thousands more cases were probably never
A team of government health researchers.
from Atlanta quietly scoured the area for clues
and ultimately came up with a true-life horror
story that was not unveiled for more than a de-
Their conclusion: the people got sick by drink-
ing water from their kitchen faucets.
As It turned out, a combination of circum-
stances sent virus particles from sewage plants
Into groundwater supplies several hundred feet
below the surface to be sucked up by wells.
It might have been from the city sewage plant,
which In those days discharged effluent Into
Sweetwater Branch, which ran into Paynes Prai-
rie and down Into Alachua Sink.
Or It might have been from the University of
Florida's "recharge wells,' which pumped water
from Lake Alice down Into the aquifer. The UF
discharged sewage Into Laye Alice back then.
And then there were some wells at the water
plant with structural defects. One day a few
weeks before the outbreak, foam billowed out of
a section of the water treatment plant. The well
causing the problem was shut off. bultapparently
it was restarted a week later.
In any event, the "Greal Galnesvllle Virus,"
occurring nearly two decades ago, might have
served as a distant early warning for all of Flori-
da had II been made public.
"Florida has presumed that the groundwater
Is pure and people can just drink It," says Dr.
Stephen King, the state's chief health officer.
"In other parts of the country, groundwater is
polluted. In eastern Tennessee, where I grew up
In the early 1950s, wells were pure. Now very few
are because they've been polluted by septic tanks
and surface drainage. Everybody has to chlori-
nate It now."
Today, with 92 percent of the state population
sipping water from beneath the soil, wells are
being contaminated at an alarming rate by
sewage, pesticides, organic compounds, solid
waste landfills, saltwater, gasoline from rusting
tanks, bacteria and viruses from Improperly In-
stalled or operated septic tanks, and even storm
Modern-day examples of groundwater con-
tamination In Florida are everywhere.
Standing on top of a hill that used to be the
58th Street Landfill In Miami, you can see clear to
the Atlantic Ocean. No one knows exactly what
was piled up at the dump over decades. Miami
does know, however, that lots of toxic chemicals
were discarded there, because they have been
detected In wells several miles downstream from
the Biscayne Aquifer. The concentrations In two
of the wells were so high that they had to be aban-
The ltlle town of Bellevlew, south of Ocala,
has been gaining popularity It would just as soon
do without. Its water supply reeks of gasoline.
Underground tanks made of metal have'rusted
and leaked their contents.
Private wells, which supply several million
Florldlans with their dripklng water, are often no
beller off. In Fairbanks, just north of Gainesvllle,
homeowners learned that chemical degreasing
solvents illegally dumped for years In a nearby
borrow pit by the state Department of Transpor-
tation have seeped Into the groundwater and are
turning up In their wells.
One of the more bizarre threats Is a 34-acre
pool of thick, greasy "gunk," called Varsol. It
floats on top of the water table beneath Miami
International Airport. For years it leaked from a
pipeline before II was detected In 1971. The 500,-
000-gallon spill Is only half a mile from Dade
County's main drinking water wells.
County officials monitoring the blob can only
hope it never moves.
Florida's catalog of groundwater poisoning
stories Is voluminous. The EPA says Florida has
more groundwater-threatening hazardous waste
dumps than any state In the nation, although that
may be partially due to the fact that Florida has
been more aggressive in seeking out abandoned
dumps than many states have.
Lawmakers are slowly learning that more
effort Is needed to protect the water citizens
drink, especially In view of the growth that Is
"Water is so crucial to Florida because Flori-
da Is one of only a few states In the country that
rely almost completely on groundwater to meet
our needs," said House Speaker Lee Moffitt, D-
Tampa. "This fact, plus the projection that our
current population will double by the year 2000,
makes IIt essential that we examine whether we
have In place the mechanisms to Insure that we
are adequately maintaining our resources."
Those remarks wer. made to a group oflcttena.scdel
tIsts, state a acy oficlals..business and Industry represen-
(tves assembled by Mofftll last year Into a Water Task
Fbrce to examine the threats to Florida's potable,,watfr_
Six months later, after reviewing a wide range of prob-
lems, the group produced a slack of findings and recom-
mendations for legislative consideration.
Thousands of buried Industrial storage tanks and gaso,
line tanks are susceptible to corrosion and leakage Into the
There are about 700 landfills and open dumps with
varying potential for polluting the groundwater.
About 7,000 drainage or "recharge" wells are dis-
charging millions of gallons of wastewater directly Into
Thousands of septic tanks are Installed In probably
unsuitable areas for percolation operations.
Roughly 25,000 abandoned, free-flowing wells allow
saline or lower quality water to flow Into freshwater aqui-
fers. Many also cause a loss of good quality water by dis-
charging millions of gallons each day into the ocean and
Thousands of farms are receiving large amounts of
pesticides and herbicides, sometimes In areas that are
Important natural recharge centers for aquifers.
Despite these known problems, the Task Force found
that screening of public and private supplies Is "seriously
deficient." No testing Is done for many toxic substances, and
no systematic testing Is done for viruses.
"Viruses aren't alive, really, so they can't be killed. They
are practically Inert," said Flora Mae Welllngs, head of the
state department which tracks epidemics.
Welllngs, who once traced a typhoid fever outbreak at a
migrant labor camp to a sewage leak Into the camp's well
water, added, "The sun and rain can help cleanse surface
waters of viruses."
"But there Is no cleansing of groundwater. Once it's con-
taminated, we don't know If It will ever be cleaned up," she
Although the state annually tests 31,000 drinking water
samples, It only tests for 43 substances. But the EPA has list-
ed 129 "priority pollutants," all of which probably should be
According to the Task Force report, "Chemical pollution
of a toxic nature may enter Into the cone of Influence of
public wellfleld supplies without the knowledge of the pub-
lic water supply authority or the consumers'of this water."
."At a minimum, the testing should Include all of the 129
priority pollutants," the report recommends.
The Task Force didn't just moan about the problems. It
actually came up with a cost $67 million to Just begin
Its budget recommendations for this legislative session
For hazardous waste site clean-up and monitoring,
For Identification of all hazardous waste generators,
For a mandatory Inspection and monitoring system
for all small sewage "package plants," $815,000.
For state construction grants to local governments for
sewage plant expansions and Improvements, $50 million.
For grants to water management districts to begin
capping free-flowing wells, $5 million.
To toughen state regulation of pesticides and to set
allowable levels. $100,000.
To develop a statewide monitoring program for pesti-
cide use, $2.6 million.
To build a central groundwater data system for Flori-
To build an emergency fund to respond to toxic and
hazardous waste spills, $3 million.
For fullscale testing of drinking water supplies, $614,-
Bill Sadowakl ChAlrman af the Task Force and a former
House member from Miami, says th(itJher i67 lPrice
tals a .bajr compared to (b ultimate costs oi doing
"If steps aren't taken during this decade, then by the
year 2,000 we will look back and conclude that some very
unpleasant things have occurred that never should have
occurred," Sadowski said.
The Task Force even heeded ibe public health lessons
sounded by incidents from as long ago as the Gainvesville
"On the Issue of viruses and the potential for that kind of
contamination, we simply don't know enough," said Dr.
King. "We used to believe that they died quickly in the envi-
ronment, but apparently they attach to pieces of matter and
become Inactive but not dead."
Adds Richard Smith, the state's chief sewage treatment
official, "With conventional sewage treatment, we are re-
moving 90 or 95 percent of the stuff from sewage, but there
are billions and billions of virus particles in there. Even If 5
percent gets through, the potential for causing Illness Is
The Task Force, noting that viruses which are not elimi-
nated by ordinary secondary treatment of sewage can be
eliminated through a special filtration system, has recom-
mended that the Legislature require such a system for all
sewage treatment plants.
Next: Who Pays for Growth?
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On the agenda
Business lobbyists expect to
wrangle with state legislators on
water management, education,
transportation and tax issues.
TALLAHASSEE From hazardous waste to interest
rates, from bed pans to septic tanks, from liquor laws to
airplane fuel taxes, such is the myriad of Issues that Flor-
Ida's business community will be concerned about during
the 1983 legislative session.
State legislators and business lobbyists are gathering
in Tallahassee this week for the annual session which
With the major Issue of raising taxes to Improve the
state's roads resolved in a special session earlier this
year, legislators and lobbyists are In agreement that
"nothing sexy" will surface during this session.
But they've been wrong before.
A quick glance at some of the Issues up for considera-
tion provides strong evidence that some Interesting rela-
tionships could evolve from the Legislature's annual
Legislators will find themselves dealing with many
growth management Issues, but on a preliminary basis as
the trenchwork will evolve in this session, settling the
foundation for more direct action next year.
Lingering in the minds of most legislators will be a
1984 election that will require all members of the House
of Representatives and one half of the Senate to seek re-
election. On that same election ballot will be a proposal
to cap government spending.
The "Proposition 13" proposal, similar to the one that
has played havoc with California's government financial
system, Is aimed at putting a halt to rising taxes In Flor-
ida. Legislators and lobbyists aren't so concerned about
the cap on taxes as they are about efforts to roll back
spending and government operations.
"We've got to learn how to cope with, prepare ftr and
deal with the many Issues related to the slate's growth.
These Include education, transportation, the environ-
ment and urban revitalization," said Lee Moffill, Speaker
of the House of Representatives.
Although the financial woes associated with the de-
mands of the state's transportation system were resolved
- to a degree during the special two-day session held
earlier this year, the continuing battle over financing
and upgrading the state's education system will probably
attract the most limelight.
But transportation and education are just two of the
many growth issues that have to be dealt with.
Moffitt, a Tampa Democrat and attorney, said the
most immediate problem is that of water. "We've got to
deal with this sensitive Issue and no one Is looking for-
ward to that."
Besides addressing the Issue of maintaining an ade-
quate supply of water to support the state's growth, re-
lated Issues such as distribution rights, water quality,
pollution, and hazardous waste will all play a role.
While legislators like Moffitt may be focusing their
attention on broad Issues affecting the future growth of
Florida, there are those who will be giving great atten-
tion to specific issues Issues that will affect the growth
and development of the state's business community.
Just ask Tampa native Jon L. Shebel, president of As-
sociated Industries of Florida, an Industry organization
whose 1,800 members employ 60 percent of the state's
Shebel, who Is considered one of the state's most In-
fluential lobbyists, is concerned about proposals to ellml-
note tax incentives, increasing the corporate Income tax,
health care cost containment and employment compen-
salllon programs, just to name a few.
"But the Legislature began telling us
(industry representatives) back In the
early 1970s thdt II takes two years to get
major legislation enacted. The first year
Is when we define the Issue and try to
make some technical changes while get-
ling the legislator's attention. Then, the
second year we give full attention to-
ward making !he appropriate legislative
adjustments to resolve a problem," he
Around the corner from Shebel's Tal-
lahassee office Is the headquarters for
the Florida Home Builders Association.
There, legislative counsel Kinney S. liar-
ley Is moving to head off legislation that
calls for Impact fees on new housing -
fees charged by governments to help
pay for utilities and streets associated
Because such proposals come out of
growth-related pressure on local govern-
ments, Harley also Is concentrating at-
tention on improving government's
growth management policies.
"Just look what's happening In east-
ern Hllsborough County where develop-
ers have been given permits to put up
new homes, but the county doesn't have
the utility systems to serve them and the
water able Is too high to allow for
proper septic lank percolation," Kinney
larley and his associates in the
building industry also will be exerting
pressure on legislators to revise the
homestead exemption tax, which re-
stricts local government from taxing the
first $25,000 In the value of a person's
"Eighty percent of the homes In cen-
tral and northern Florida'have been re-
moved from the tax rolls because of this
law. That's intolerable and some effort
must be made to ensure all Florldlans
pay their fair share In taxes." he added.
But who said the Legislature had to
be fair In Its application of taxes? Ask
the sale's liquor and airline Industries.
Jack Lee, who heads the lobbying ef-
foils of the Distilled Spirits Wholesalers
of Florida, Is faced with two lax pro-
posals that could bump the sales lax on
liquor by 50 percent. Florida now taxes
liquor at a rate 7.9 times the national
average, the lobbyists said.
"We recognize the political expedi-
ency of these proposals, but It's time that
fairness and equity became a paramount
consideration," he said.
And then there Is the Issue of the spe-
clal lax on airline fuel, which has the
state's airlines industry not to men- I" \
lion the major carriers serving Florida
- up In arms.
The tax, which shocked the Industry
when it surfaced two days before the
special session earlier this year, is ap- '
plied to aviation fuel purchased in Flor-
ida and is expected to raise $53 million
annually in revenue. That's a 1,600 per-
cent increase In a tax that Is not applied
to other commercial carriers, the lobby-
Isls pointed out.
Atlanta-based Delta Airlines has filed
suit to have the tax declared unconstllu-
tlonal. Eastern Airlines Is attacking 3
through the legislative process. .
Two issues which are expected to
feed the lobbyists' porkbarrel this year 1
would allow interstate banking and raise '
the usury ceiling on credit.
Last week, a bill which would boost 1"
the usury limit from 18 to 45 percent on
consumer credit was unanimously ap-
proved by a House committee and Is ex-
pected to get quick legislative attention.
For the past two years a period when '
interest rates where either reaching for l.n
or exceeding the 18 percent limit the
state's banks and thrifts fought hard to
gel the Ilmlt lifted. But the legislature 'ii: M.
refused to act. With Interest rqles on the
decline, legislators seem more at ease in
raising the limtll.
The "big money" bill for the banking 'illl
lobbyists is the one coming out of the "iII
.'"iil Tribun art by VAUGHN HUGHES
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Dade dump called serious
By RICK HIRSCH
Herad Staff Writer
SPre iin-if t at a Medley
salvage yard contaminate wfh
worst hazardous wastdlmps.
andmay hd f dij e fer fdm aI
clean monyg. Evironmental
Pf'6Tection Agency (EPA) officials
The tests, conducted by EPA
consultants over a two-week peri-
od. indicate numerous deposits of
the toxic chemical compound po-
lychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) on
and around Pepper's Steel and Al-
lovs Inc., 11100 NW South River
Drive in Medley.
EPA officials, who met last
week with state Department of
Environmental Regulation (DER)
officials to assign a toxic waste
"score" to the site, said the situa-
tion is probably serious enough to
qualify it for cleanup money
under the EPA's Superfund pro-
"From the looks of it, the site
will almost certainly score high
enough to be considered seriously
for the national list," said Richard
Ferrazzuolo. the EPA's site-
screening project officer for Flori-
25 on list
Last December, the EPA re-
leased a list of the 418 worst haz-
ardous 'aste sites in the nation.
Of them. 25 were in Florida and
five were in Dade County.
The Dade County sites are the
NW 58th Street landfill, Miami
International Airport, the former
site of the Miami Drum Service
Co. near Medley, Gold Coast Oil
C3rp. at 2835 SW 71st Ave., and
Munisport in North Miami Beach.
The Pepper's Steel site would
be Dade's sixth. Tests already
conducted by Metro's Department
of E.av';onmental Resources Man-
agemer.t (DERM) showed concen-
trations of PC3s a: more than 140
times what is considered a dan-
PCBs are a group of oily, color.
less liquids in the same chemical
family as the pesticide DDT. PCBs
have been linked to birth defects,
reproductive failure, liver prob-
lems, skin lesions and cancer.
Under federal law that set up
the EPA's Superfund a S1.6-bil-
lion fund collected from chemical
companies to clean up hazardous
wastes property owners and
"generators" of hazardous wastes
are considered liable for waste
dump cleanup costs.
The PCBs discovered at Pep-
per's Steel came from heat-ex-
change fluids in used electrical
transformers. Pepper's Steel
owner Norton Bloom bought
thousands of used transformers
from Florida Power and Light Co.
to be stripped down to scrap
When the transformers were
stripped. PCB.laden oil in the
transformers spilled into the
ground. said Bill Brant, DERM
pollution control chief.
Because PPL was a "generator"
of the PCBs. the EPA could at-
tempt to recover cleanup costs for
the dump site from the giant utili-
ty, said EPA-lawyer Joan Boilen.
An official ranking for the Pep
per's Steel site on the national list
won't be made for about a month.
Ferrazzuolo said. Before the site
can receive a definite ranking, the
state must formally request that
the site be added to he federal list.
the scoring results must be re-
checked, and EPA officials in
Washington must approve the
ranking, he said.
If the EPA decides the site is
dangerous enough to require
spending from Superfund. it
would first notify all responsible
parties including Bloom and
FPL saying that the EPA will
spend from the fund unless they
do so voluntarily, Boilen said.