FDEP: No evidence of off-site contaminant migration from former Solite site in Green Cove

Spokesperson says FDEP hasn’t been presented with redevelopment plans

CLAY COUNTY, Fla. – Amid the ongoing talks of selling a former Superfund site in Clay County, News4JAX has received a response from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

Previously, developers had announced plans to build a subdivision there despite health concerns that have been brought forth by community members.

Former employees of what was the Florida Solite plant have told News4JAX that barrels filled with toxic chemicals were buried in the dirt all around the 800-acre property. They’re working with FDEP to ensure the piece of land isn’t developed.

“Cleanup of a site is a complex, multi-phase process, but with appropriate remediation and planning, sites such as these can be safely repurposed,” the response reads in part. “In the case of redevelopment, it is the nature of the intended land use that determines DEP requirements.”

As far as the the Solite property, FDEP says, “site assessment activities are ongoing to determine the level of both soil and groundwater contamination present on the site and to establish any necessary remediation, in accordance with DEP’s 2006 Amended Consent Order and applicable cleanup regulations.”

The agency said they are currently waiting for additional site sampling plans and remediation plans from the site’s environmental consultant. Various options can be implemented, depending on the level of contamination and proposed site use, including soil removal, capping and groundwater remediation.

Additionally, the statement reads, based on testing to date, all known soil/sediment/groundwater contamination is contained within the site boundary. “There is no evidence of off-site contaminant migration at this time.”

The statement adds:

“In this case, the property owner recently notified DEP that it was in discussions to sell the property to the residential development company, Danhour. In anticipation of the sale, the current property owner requested information on how Danhour could be added to DEP’s Consent Order as a party also responsible for cleanup. Should the sale go through, and Danhour (as the new property owner) were added to the Consent Order, they would be required to take over primary responsibility for any required cleanup of the site and to propose a revised cleanup schedule and Remedial Action Plan (RAP), which is subject to the department’s review and approval.  Importantly, to the extent the sale does go through but Danhour is not added to DEP’s Consent Order, the current property owner would remain liable for cleanup. Liability for cleanup under the current Consent Order and Florida law is not extinguished automatically in this case due to a property transfer. Any cleanup activities proposed in this RAP would be required to meet applicable cleanup target levels based on the intended land use. These levels are set to protect human health and the environment, in accordance with state and federal standards.”

Furthermore, the spokesperson writes, FDEP hasn’t been presented with redevelopment plans for the assessment area. Should it receive those, the site would be fully evaluated.

About the Authors:

Renee Beninate is a Florida native and award-winning reporter who joined the News4Jax team in June 2021.