Thursday, May 24, 2018
News Roundup

Task force will consider potential Brownfields cleanup sites in Brooksville

BROOKSVILLE — The citizens task force evaluating commercial properties for Brooksville's federally funded Brownfields program will meet Wednesday to determine which ones warrant further investigation for contaminants.

An initial list of more than 80 potentially hazard-laced properties has been pared down to 10, based on a scoring and ranking method that also considered the likelihood that hazardous wastes might still be present, as well as the parcel's future commercial viability.

Bill Geiger, Brooksville's community development director and manager of the city's Brownfields program, said that the recommended sites, most of which are vacant, are within the city's designated enterprise zone.

They were chosen primarily based on their redevelopment and rehabilitation potential. However, task force members may add or subtract properties if they collectively choose.

Once task force members have targeted the properties they feel warrant assessment, things will likely move quickly, Geiger said, into a phase that involves contacting property owners to carry out further environmental site assessments.

Many of the suspected properties were active during an era in Brooksville when little attention was paid to the dumping of toxic chemicals such as petroleum, solvents, arsenic, pesticides and heavy metals. And although some parcels may have undergone removal of some pollutants, it's thought that some may still contain residual contaminants.

While the $400,000 Environmental Protection Agency grant will only cover investigative costs, a completed assessment could pave the way for a property owner to apply for EPA cleanup dollars.

According to criteria set by the EPA Brownfields program, the grant money must be equally shared among properties suspected of having petroleum pollutants and those suspected of having other types of chemical contamination.

Logan Neill can be reached at [email protected] or (352) 848-1435.

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