Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Cleanup at Stauffer Superfund site in Tarpon Springs to begin in April

TARPON SPRINGS — The cleanup of the hazardous mess left behind decades ago by a chemical plant along the Anclote River will finally begin next month.

"After many, many years of studies and tests on what we should finally do with the site, we are at a point where remediation can start," said Bob Shay of Stauffer Management Co. at a meeting Thursday at Tarpon Springs Library to discuss the plan. "We can understand over the years people in the community are probably a little skeptical, and that's understandable too."

Officials from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, contractors hired to perform the work and a representative from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection also attended Thursday's meeting.

On Wednesday, the same officials met with emergency services and health department personnel from Pasco and Pinellas counties and Tarpon Springs.

Workers will began showing up at the 130-acre site early next month with the bulk of them arriving in mid May. The project is expected to be completed in July 2011.

The plant was built and operated by Victor Chemical Co. and began production in 1947. In 1960, Stauffer Chemical Co. bought the plant and it continued to produce elemental phosphorous until it closed in 1981. The phosphorus-processing plant left 30 toxic substances in the water and soil, including arsenic, lead and radium-226.

The EPA put the area on its Superfund list in 1994. The cleanup is expected to cost upward of $10 million and will be paid for by Stauffer.

The plan calls for a 10- to 20-foot-deep wall to be built around ponds in a 29-acre area of the southern parcel. The area will then be sealed with a watertight cap. A cap also will be put on an 18 1/2-acre area of a northern parcel.

A seawall will be built on the eastern side of Meyers Cove and along a portion of the Anclote River shoreline.

Workers at the plant were exposed to asbestos, lead, sulfur dioxide and other contaminants that could cause an increased risk of cancer.

During the cleanup, air will be tested every 15 minutes to ensure that contaminants are not spread.

Construction equipment will also have air monitoring capabilities.

While there has been talk about the site being turn into a boat storage area, Shay said Stauffer has no immediate plans for the property. The site is 2 miles from the Gulf of Mexico near the Pasco-Pinellas county line and is one of few large tracts of vacant waterfront left in Pinellas. No homes can be built on the site, according to Stauffer.

"We are interested in finding some long-term beneficial use for the site," Shay said. "We want it to be a good-looking piece of property. But right now, we have one purpose, and safety is the No. 1 driving force."

Tarpon Springs Commissioner Chris Alahouzos attended Thursday's session .

"I wanted to make sure that the city will be able to check the wells," Alahouzos said. "I just wanted to ensure Tarpon's quality of water."

Demorris A. Lee can be reached at or (727) 445-4174.

Cleanup at Stauffer Superfund site in Tarpon Springs to begin in April 03/26/10 [Last modified: Friday, March 26, 2010 9:10pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Want to audition for Howl-O-Scream? Here's how.


    How would you like a job that has you running all night, dodging punches and earning high marks from your boss if you make someone wet their pants?

    Lindsay Weppelman, a University of South Florida biomedical science student, plays a Zombie Bride in one of Busch Gardens' open-air scare zones at Howl-O-Scream 2016.  Photo courtesy of Busch Gardens.
  2. On the defensive: Heisman history not in Derwin James' favor


    The lowdown on Derwin James? "No offense to (Michigan's Jabrill) Peppers (a Heisman finalist last year)," ESPN analyst Rex Ryan says, "but he only wished he was the player this kid was." (Monica Herndon, Times)
  3. Trigaux: Closing Iron Yard coding school hits area tech hard but leaders talk of options


    The coming shutdown this fall of the Iron Yard software coding school in downtown St. Petersburg — announced this month as part of a national closing of all 15 Iron Yard locations — remains a shocking event to a Tampa Bay technology community that dreams big of becoming a major player in the Southeast if not …

    In better days last fall, friends and family of graduates at The Iron Yard, based in the Station House in downtown St. Petersburg, applaud during "Demo Day" when grads of the coding school show off their skills. Despite the local success and strong job placement by the coding school, The Iron Yard is closing all of its 15 locations across the country this summer. [LARA CERRI   |   Times]
  4. Kevin Kiermaier: Return to action Thursday 'didn't set the world on fire'

    The Heater

    Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier's return from the hip injury that sidelined him since June 8 could have gone better Thursday in Port Charlotte. He broke two bats and went hitless in two at bats while playing for the Class A Charlotte Stone Crabs.

    Kevin Kiermaier takes cuts in the cage during batting practice before the game between the Rays and Texas Rangers Saturday at Tropicana Field. [WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times]
  5. U.S. economy gathers steam in second quarter


    WASHINGTON — The U.S. economy revved up this spring after a weak start to the year, fueled by strong consumer spending. But the growth spurt still fell short of the optimistic goals President Donald Trump hopes to achieve through tax cuts and regulatory relief.

    A government report released Friday showed economic output picked up in the second quarter. 
[Associated Press file photo]