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Water-Related News

‘Low risk’ contamination sites to get fresh scrutiny under DEP plan

By William R. Levesque

TAMPA – For years in Tallahassee, the list of contaminated sites that are believed to pose a "low risk" to drinking water have numbered about 5,000. But no one is quite sure they are just low risk.

Now the state Department of Environmental Protection is adopting a new strategy aimed at completing a full assessment of each site in smaller counties over the next three to five years by hiring larger counties – including Hillsborough and Pinellas – to check them out.

Hillsborough will administer site assessment and cleanup in Manatee. Pinellas will do the same in Pasco and is expected also to undertake Hernando, Citrus, and Sumter counties.

Such properties, which made it on the list using mapping data and landowners' self-reporting, can contain surprises, said Hooshang Boostani, director of Hillsborough waste management.