Federal environmental officials have ordered work halted at parts of Cypress Creek Town Center, citing two incidents involving the discharge of muddy water into the creek that feeds into Tampa's supply of drinking water.
The Army Corps of Engineers announced Friday afternoon it had suspended the permit of the Richard E. Jacobs group, which means it can no longer discharge fill around a 54-acre area. Construction in other areas can continue.
"The most important thing to us is there are initial corrective measures in place to assure no further degradation to Cypress Creek," said Eric Summa, chief of the enforcement section of the corps' Jacksonville district.
He said this is the second time the developers have been cited for discharging muddy water into the creek. The first discharge occurred in September, and the corps is still seeking administrative penalties in that incident. On Jan. 24, the corps received e-mail complaints from residents that muddy water was again being discharged.
He said the mall initially offered assurance it would not pollute the creek, but "unfortunately, that has not been the case."
This latest violation, he said, occurred in the same place as the first.
A crew from the corps will visit the site Monday to determine any biological impact.
The permit suspension comes the same week that officials with the Southwest Florida Water Management District said they were referring the matter to the agency's general counsel for legal action.
Environmentalists have kept the mall's construction under close scrutiny. The Sierra Club led a lawsuit filed in October to block the 1-million-square -foot shopping center.