Hillsborough County Commission addresses dumpting by FDOT in Seffner

05/22/07 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Tuesday | Listen to this entire show:


A dispute between Hillsborough County and the  State’s Department of Transportation regarding the DOT’s dumping material – possibly contaminated - from a road-widening project on State Road 301 was examined at the Hillsborough County Land Use Meeting today.


Citizens in the Seffner area have objected to the dumping, saying they feared that contaminants have been dumped into the ground.


Last Friday, the County’s Planning and Growth Management Department ordered the state DOT to stop dumping at a pit at Tayor and Pruett Roads- saying they needed a permit.  But the DOT says they have been exempted from such a permit, in an agreement with Swiftmud.


Peter Luotto is with Hillsborough County’s Growth and Management Department.

He said that the State and County did come together earlier the day on a Memorandum of Understanding (roll tape#1 o.q.”being deposited there”)


Rick Garrity is with the Hillsborough County Environmental Protection Commission, or EPC .  He said it appears that most of the dirt and muck that the FDOT has been dumping does not appear to be contaminated (roll tape#2 o.q.”not be dumped there”)              


Because of complaints that appeared in the Tampa Tribune last week, the FDOT has now taken samples of the area for testing.  They say results of those tests will be ready by later this week, or early next week.

County Commissioners asked if the EPC could do their own testing of the material in question, but was told that the agency didn’t have the right equipment to do such testing.


Kevin White said he felt uneasy about allowing the DOT to continue dumping in the area, since it’s not known if contaminants have or have not been dumped already.  (roll tape#3 o.q.”financial contribution here”)


Saying he didn’t want to question the FDOT’s integrity, White said he would feel better if the EPC could somehow find a way to do its own sampling


EPC Director Rick Garrity agreed (roll tape#4 o.q.”state certified laboratory”)  


Cam Oberting is the President with the Taylor Road Civic Association.  She said that she has been observing the dumping for weeks, but has not gotten anybody’s attention

(roll tape#5 o.q.”that day”)


But she said on Monday, when a local television news crew came out to the area, the FDOT reversed course and began hauling the debris out of the site.   Oberting said the County hadn’t been listening to her complaints, as she verbally jousted with Commission Chair Jim Norman (roll tape#6 o.q.”thank you”)


 Officials with the Florida Department of Transportation said they would make public their soil samples as soon as they received them…..The Commission voted to have the County Attorney’s office to draft the Memorandum of Understanding, and   consider the legal arguments regarding FDOT having permission to work on the area without a permit from the County. 

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