NO CURRENT HEALTH RISKS FROM PHOSPHATE PLANT by Roxanne Escobales

01/24/07
Alan Watts

The federal government released a report that finds no apparent public health risk from a former a Hillsborough County phosphate plant. A couple of years ago, around a thousand Plant City residents filed a lawsuit, claiming they’d been contaminated by chemicals from Coronet Industries that leaked into the ground and then into the water supply.

 

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Attorney Jim Ross represents around 11-hundred Plant City residents who are suing Coronet. He says the federal government’s report is limited, as it only shows contaminant levels from 2003 forward.

 

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Not enough is known about the levels of contaminants from before 2003.

 

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Ross says his side is in the process of conducting a historical analysis of the site, but that it’s a very complex process. AT one point in the 1980s, the federal government itself determined Coronet to be a risk to Plant City.

 

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At the Coronet site, toxic chemicals such as arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead and fluoride were dumped into unprotected ponds. Those pollutants found their way into the groundwater and drainage ditches leading to a creek. Tests done in 2003 found high enough levels of the toxins in the water supply that the state began supplying bottled drinking water to about 40 households.

 

Coronet Industries ceased operations at the site in 2004. It’s currently cleaning up pollutants at the former plant, which is now demolished.

 

Attorney Jim Ross says the case could take another two to three years to settle.

 

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