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Release Date: 08/28/2000
Contact Information: Carl Terry, (404) 562-8325,
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced actions it has taken to address environmental concerns at the Stauffer Chemical Superfund site in Tarpon Springs, Florida. Specifically, EPA has withdrawn the Consent Decree (CD) for cleanup at the site. Additionally, EPA has entered into an enforceable agreement with the Stauffer Management Company that requires the company to conduct geophysical studies, evaluate the effect of groundwater on the remedy, and conduct treatability studies on the solidification portion of the remedy before the Agency makes a final decision regarding the remedy for the site. The additional testing is expected to be completed within the next 12 to 18 months. EPA also has signed a Superfund Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP). The MOU outlines the respective roles and responsibilities between EPA and FDEP, pledges more meaningful public participation, and reinforces EPA's commitment to ensure that the remedy is protective of human health.

"These actions will provide a strong, more unified framework for promoting continued dialogue and making informed decisions about the cleanup," said John H. Hankinson, Jr., EPA Regional Administrator in Atlanta. "EPA remains firmly committed to working with the state and the community to ensure that the remedy is protective of human health and the environment."

Congressman Michael Bilirakis (R- FL), FDEP, and some members of the Tarpon Springs Community expressed concerns regarding the reliability and long-term protectiveness of the remedy, the possibility of sinkhole formation and groundwater issues. Also, concerns were expressed that the cleanup standards for arsenic in soils is not protective enough for human health and the environment.

Additional testing will include studies regarding solidification/stabilization and studies to evaluate the geology beneath the site and defining groundwater flow and contamination in the aquifers beneath the site. The results of the testing will enable EPA, FDEP, and the community to make more informed decisions based on sound science before finalizing the CD. In addition, EPA will require controls to restrict future use of the property. Upon completion of the studies, EPA will determine if the current remedy will be implemented as is, modified, or if a new remedy will be selected.

EPA is firmly committed to working cooperatively with FDEP and the local community to provide maximum opportunity to review and comment on all reports, studies, and decisions made through out the process.

EPA selected the cleanup remedy for the former elemental phosphorous production plant in July 1998. The remedy includes excavation, consolidation, and capping of contaminated material on the site, and in-place cementing of highly contaminated materials in disposal pond areas. EPA and Stauffer Management Company signed a CD to legally bind Stauffer to the remedy. EPA and the Department of Justice lodged the CD in Federal Court, Tampa Middle District, in November 1999.