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EPA: Site has contaminated water

But the former Alaric Inc. site is dangerous only to residents who use groundwater as a source of drinking water.

By JOSH ZIMMER

© St. Petersburg Times, published December 6, 2000


TAMPA -- The federal government has added an Orient Park property to its national list of dangerous chemical sites.

The former Alaric Inc. site, where workers in the 1980s recycled plastics and made acrylic coatings, joined the national priorities list last week after a review by the U.S. Department of Environmental Protection.

The decision to place Alaric on the list occurred despite a recent Florida Department of Health assessment that showed groundwater contamination detected on the site was not a threat to residents.

EPA officials could not be reached for comment Tuesday. The department's web site states that the site poses a danger to people living within four miles of it who use groundwater as a source of drinking water.

Soil and groundwater samples revealed the presence of chemicals solvents.

Davis Daiker, a public health assessor for the state, said the Health Department is scheduled to start mailing notices to homeowners today, telling them the contamination poses no apparent health hazard.

"There is contaminated groundwater but we've been assured most of the residents are residing (north of the site while the groundwater flows south), and also are receiving municipal water service, which is clean water," he said.

Alaric operated between 1981 and 1986.

The contamination was discovered in 1986 during well testing, said Jordan Lewis, director of environmental health for the Hillsborough County Health Department.

But it's not clear whether Alaric was responsible for the contamination because several other companies used the location.

They included a concrete equipment repair company and a distributor of marine varnishes and lacquers.

An aluminum company currently uses the property.

The EPA's national list targets contaminated sites for cleanup.

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