County sues east Hillsborough truck stop over need for environmental cleanup

TAMPA — A longtime truck stop in eastern Hillsborough County is facing a lawsuit from the county's Environmental Protection Commission.

The lawsuit against 6503 U.S. Highway 301 LLC, which owns the currently defunct truck stop on U.S. 301 near Interstate 4, includes four counts. The most significant claims that owners have failed to close off or remove nine aged, underground fuel tanks that aren't being maintained.

The EPC also claims that the owner has not maintained wastewater drainage systems for the property. That may be allowing potentially contaminated sewage and runoff from a truck wash and other operations to flow into natural water systems unfiltered.

It further claims that past owners never submitted a required assessment and cleanup plan in response to a fuel spill. Finally, it claims that garbage and other potential contaminants regularly build up on the property.

Andrew Zogrow, assistant counsel for the EPC, said most of the issues in the lawsuit are long-running and have been subject to prior legal or regulatory action. But he said the property has recently changed hands and he wanted to serve notice of the need for a significant cleanup.

He said the truck stop is not currently in operation as a fueling station, but that trucks occasionally stop there. It's unclear if some aspects of the business are occasionally operational, he said.

Marshall Rainey, an attorney for the current ownership group, said the new owners acquired the property through foreclosure and the prior owners are challenging the transfer. The new owners plan to address aspects of the complaint, but the pending legal challenge to the ownership is making any investment in the property problematic.

"We need to make sure our ownership is secure," he said.

County sues east Hillsborough truck stop over need for environmental cleanup 11/15/10 [Last modified: Monday, November 15, 2010 11:18pm]

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