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Company fined $1M for lack of solid waste facility permit

By Times Staff
Published April 7, 2006

A Pinellas-Pasco circuit judge has ordered an Oldsmar construction company to pay a $1-million civil penalty for operating a solid waste processing facility without the required permits, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection announced Thursday.

The state filed suit against Abray Construction and its president, Robert Michael Damoth of Odessa, last July.

No one representing the company ever responded to the lawsuit, and the court entered a final judgment against Abray on Thursday after a motion for default, according to court records.

Neither Damoth nor anyone else at the company could be reached late Thursday.

The fine sends a "clear signal" that the state's rules and regulations are in place to protect the environment, said Pamala Vazquez, a spokeswoman for the Department of Environmental Protection's southwest district.

"It really highlights how seriously we take our enforcement," she said. "We had told them that you're operating this facility without a permit, and it was very difficult to get any communication, so we had no choice but to take it into a civil arena and let a court decide."

The company's activities included bringing construction debris to the facility, sending debris to a landfill and reusing dirt on job sites, according to the state. When properly permitted, a solid waste processing facility requires plans to control stormwater and contaminated fluids produced at the site.

--Times researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report.

[Last modified April 7, 2006, 01:31:16]

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