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Deal on Hernando Beach Channel dredge problems near

BROOKSVILLE — The county has reached a tentative agreement with state environmental regulators over mistakes made during the dredge of the Hernando Beach Channel.

On Tuesday, the County Commission will consider approving a consent order with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection that will settle issues concerning areas where the dredging contractor dug too deep and destroyed sea grass.

The order determines that the county was responsible for 3.83 acres of unauthorized dredging and the destruction of 1.41 acres of sea grass.

The agreement would levy a fine of $10,000 plus $1,000 in administrative costs or give the county the option of completing a project to improve the environment, which would cost $15,000, according to Susan Goebel, the county's director of environmental services.

Officials are leaning toward the latter because the Army Corps of Engineers — which also issued the county a permit for the dredge — might still require some action to mitigate the destroyed sea grass. County officials expect to talk with corps officials this week and meet in a couple of weeks to resolve the issue.

While the county works through the final details with both the DEP and the corps, Goebel said the final pay request made by the dredging contractor, BCPeabody, will remain on hold until contractor's responsibility in the mistakes can be determined.

The county has withheld $46,500 from BCPeabody's $8.7 million contract.

Barbara Behrendt can be reached at behrendt@tampabay.com or (352) 848-1434.

Deal on Hernando Beach Channel dredge problems near 10/16/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 16, 2012 7:03pm]
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