The Florida Department of Environmental Protection could find no evidence of environmental contamination at a facility at the Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport.
The DEP reviewed a report done by Coastal Engineering Associates Inc. and determined that trace chemicals were found in the ground at the vacant Brooksville Air Center at 15421 Technology Drive but not enough to warrant concern or further testing.
County Commission Chairman Dave Russell said he is pleased about that. However, he is not happy there were apparently unfounded reports brought to the board’s attention of massive amounts of fuel leakage at the site and it cost Hernando County taxpayers money for the county to look into the matter.
“Which raises the question of who started this rumor,” Russell said. “Those are questions I want answers to. I’ve asked the administrator for that information and to prepare a report as to the genesis of the investigation, how this was brought to the attention of the board and why.”
At last week’s county commission meeting, Paul Douglas, president of the local branch of the NAACP, said he believed there were three separate fuel spills totaling more than 280 gallons that could have leaked into the ground.
Douglas cited an airplane that sat on the site for two years with a fully loaded fuel tank. When the former owners of the facility tried to remove it, they discovered at least 80 gallons were gone, Douglas said.
Douglas told Hernando Today last week that he had visited the site and saw the fuel leaking from the plane.
Douglas, along with Robert Rey, former manager of the foreclosed Brooksville Air Center, have been trying to get the county to rethink an appraisal done by the airport that did not take into account environmental concerns.
When Douglas made the county aware of that, Hernando County had no choice but to perform its due diligence and go through with the testing of the site, Russell said.