Honeywell Gets Brownfield status to clean up their mess by Mitch E. Perry

08/22/06

The Honeywell corporation, responsible for a chemical spill that has never been completely cleaned up in 24 years in northwest Tampa, today came before the Hillsborough County Commission to ask for a “brownfield� designation for the contaminated site at the corner of Himes & Waters.

Such a label would allow the company to seek tax breaks if the property is cleaned up under the supervision of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

But not everybody at today’s Land Use Meeting was enthusiastic for such a labeling.

Elizabeth Juress lives 4 blocks from the site in question…She said Honeywell should try to qualify for another type of tax credit (roll tape#1 o.q.� proud to see that�)

In 1982, 3,000 gallons of methylene chloride, a cancer causing chemical, spilled from a burst pipe and contaminated groundwater and some nearby wells.

Honeywell and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection entered into an agreement to clean the property, but both sides argued for 20 years over how to satisfy the requirements of the agreement

A breakthrough came earlier this year, when the Joseph Simon Trust, which owned the property, sold it back to Honeywell…Which then requested the brownfield designation.

Tim Barr is from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. He said that there is a contamination plume that has drifted off site (roll tape#2 o.q.� Dioxane�)

Barr emphasized that was not to be confused with the chemical Dioxin – but is still a potential carcinogen.

Commissioner Kathy Castor asked how long it would take to clean the whole property up.

An official with the state DEP could not give a firm answer.

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Honeywell’s attorney, Laurel Lockett, says that only 2 months after reacquiring the property, she has already heard from potential developers for the site (roll tape#3 o.q. “and office along Himes�)

Commissioner Ronda Storms said that the brownfield designation was an important tool in motivating Honeywell to clean up the property and asked the County’s EPC staff (roll tape#4 o.q.�can see the end in sight�)

The County Commission unanimously approved the resolution granting Honeywell Brownfield status.

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