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Hillsborough EPC keeps an eye on creek
By Times Staff Writer
Published February 6, 2008
The Hillsborough County Environmental Protection Commission is stepping up its monitoring of water quality at Cypress Creek.
Recent cases of construction runoff from a giant mall project polluting the creek, a state-designated Outstanding Florida Water, have alarmed Hillsborough's environmental watchdogs.
The creek feeds Hillsborough's drinking water supply.
Developer Richard E. Jacobs Group is building Cypress Creek Town Center, a 1-million-square-foot mall at Interstate 75 and State Road 56. State, county and federal officials have charged the builder with allowing construction discharge to illegally muddy the nearby creek at least twice in the past five months.
Hillsborough environmental officials will now collect turbidity data - which measures murkiness - every other week when there is no rain, and daily when it rains, said Bob Owens, a supervisor with the EPC. The EPC used to check turbidity only when citizens complained or on random visits, Owens said.
The commission will also increase the number of its monitoring sites from one to three, including two in Pasco it never had before.
NEW PORT RICHEY
Controlled burn sends smoke over Pasco
That thick plume of smoke visible across western Pasco County on Tuesday was a controlled burn conducted by the Southwest Water Management District, said Pasco Fire Rescue.
The prescribed burn was in the northeast quadrant of the Starkey Ranch area, said acting Assistant Chief Mike Ciccarello.
About 280 acres will be burned with the goal of consuming undergrowth that could fuel a serious wildfire.
Statewide drought conditions were not too much of a concern, the chief said.
He noted that Pasco's average rainfall has been improving of late.
"There's always concerns when you do controlled burns," Ciccarello said. "But it's a necessary thing."