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Oil waste in a Pasco County landfill? Not exactly

SHADY HILLS — Check out one federal website and you might think that the oil slick is definitely coming to Pasco — not to its shores but to the county landfill.

On a website devoted to the oil spill cleanup, the Environmental Protection Agency says that waste — everything from oil-contaminated equipment to oil-drenched seaweed — is being disposed of in state-permitted municipal solid waste landfills.

On that short list of designated landfills? Various sites in Louisiana, one in Alabama, one in Mississippi and one in "Spring Hill, Florida."

Spring Hill? In Pasco, people assumed they were talking about the Shady Hills landfill — some people consider that part of Spring Hill — and that had them scratching their heads.

Why here?

Jim Martin, emergency services director, said that made no sense, given the oil spill is not close to Pasco. The first he heard about it was Thursday morning when someone called to see what he knew about it, which was nothing.

John Power, county solid waste manager, wondered if Pasco's landfill made the list because it has the proper state permits to take oil-contaminated waste. The Shady Hills facility took oil-contaminated sand after a spill in the 1990s.

But Power said the county has not entertained any proposals to accept the waste.

"We've not signed anything or stated we would accept it," he said.

A state Department of Environmental Protection spokeswoman finally explained the mystery.

"So that I may better assist you," wrote spokeswoman Jennifer Jones, "please e-mail me your specific questions regarding Springhill Regional Landfill in Campbellton."

Oh. Campbellton. In Jackson County.

The privately owned facility, located a few miles south of the Alabama state line, is a designated disposal site for oily waste collected in several Panhandle counties, according to a July 2 DEP report.

Incidentally, another DEP report, dated June 22, identifies various disposal options in local counties that could be available if the cleanup requires additional resources. The report says the cleanest way of getting rid of the debris would be at waste-to-energy facilities. Pasco's is one of 11 in the state.

Oil-contaminated debris is considered a solid waste — not a hazardous material — so the waste-to-energy facilities would be allowed to burn the oily materials.

The report, summing up each of the local counties' plans, said Pasco "does not have any specific disposal plans at this time but is looking into the possibility at the Pasco County Resource Recovery Center."

Times staff writer Tony Marrero contributed to this report. Jodie Tillman can be reached at jtillman@sptimes.com or (727) 869-6247.

Oil waste in a Pasco County landfill? Not exactly 07/08/10 [Last modified: Thursday, July 8, 2010 8:36pm]
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