May 23, 2005

Florida Adopts Contamination Notification Requirements

Lawrence E. Sellers

Both the Florida Legislature and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) have approved measures requiring persons responsible for site rehabilitation (PRSR) to promptly notify the agency of any off-site contamination. These measures were prompted by an incident in South Manatee County, Florida, where residents did not learn of contamination from a nearby plant until several years after it was discovered and cleanup activities were well underway.

On May 5, the Florida Legislature approved a measure (HB 937) that establishes notification requirements when contamination has migrated beyond the property boundary of a contaminated site. The PRSR must give notice to FDEP’s Division of Waste Management no less than 10 days after discovery of the contamination. Copies of the notice also must be given to the appropriate district office, county health department and all known lessees and tenants of the source property. Notice is to be provided by certified mail and on a form adopted by FDEP. The bill also requires FDEP to provide notice to all record property owners of any real property on which contamination has been discovered. If the property is a school, then FDEP also must provide a copy of the notice to the chair of the school board, and the school board must provide actual notice to teachers and parents. The bill authorizes FDEP to adopt implementing rules. Unless vetoed by the Governor, the bill becomes effective on September 1, 2005.

FDEP also has approved a rule on the subject as part of the recently adopted Global RBCA Cleanup rule amendments. Rule 62-780.220 describes the contents of the required notification and other pertinent details. The rule became effective on April 17. It may be viewed at The notification form is in Rule 62-780.900(1).

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