The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) plans to spend up to $2.8-million on an interim cleanup plan for the old Alaric Inc. Superfund site in Orient Park, Fla., according agency officials. The money would be used to clean up contaminated soil and ground water on the property, which has been used by various industrial companies since the early 1970s. Although no surrounding residents are threatened by drinking water contamination, the EPA wants to stop the rapid spread of discarded solvents as soon as possible, project manager Brad Jackson says. The ground water contamination "seemed to have doubled in size the last two years," according to Jackson. "We want to make sure it doesn't get any worse."
The agency, which took over the project from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection in 1999, hopes to have a plan ready by February and start work in 2003. The EPA currently oversees two neighboring Superfund sites.
The agency proposes spending $1.3-million to pump out the polluted ground water, which spread out over about four acres from the old Alaric building, where workers are thought to have stripped paint from metal with powerful solvents. Jackson said the nearest drinking wells are three miles away.
The top choice for cleaning up the soil involves decontaminating with special chemicals, he said. Cleaning the soil, which is more contaminated than the water, will cost between $570,000 and $1.4-million, according to agency estimates.
The agency will give the interim plan five years to succeed. After that, the only work may be monitoring the site. Negotiations for a monetary settlement are under way between the EPA and representatives of the property owner, who already has paid a state penalty, as well as investigation costs.