DEP lays out legal steps with Rolling Hills closure (podcast)

FDEP External Affairs Manager Brandy M. Smith sent this email to Dr. Gloria Horning and the Wedgewood Homeowners Association outlining what is happening with the closure of Rollings Hills C&D Recycling Center.

Dr. Horning,

Due to South Palafox Properties, LLC’s failure to perform final closing in accordance with Rule 61-701.730, Florida Administrative Code, and the Final Order dated May 29, 2015, the department issued a notice to South Palafox Property’s Financial Assurance Surety on Sept. 11 directing the Surety to either perform closing in accordance with the original closure plan and permit requirements, or place the closing amount guaranteed for the facility into a standby trust fund.

On Sept. 8, South Palafox filed a motion to “Stay Pending Appeal.” On Sept. 14, South Palafox filed a “Motion for Protective Order” asking for entry of an order prohibiting the department from making a claim against its closure bond. On Sept. 15, South Palafox filed a “Request for Hearing.” On Sept. 30, the department issued an Order denying South Palafox’s motion to stay pending appeal and an Order denying South Palafox’s motion for protective order and request for hearing. On Oct. 14, the department was notified that the Financial Assurance Surety had deposited the complete sum of the Financial Assurance policy into a standby trust so that the department can move forward with closure of the facility.

Closure is defined by Rule 62-701.730(9) and requires final cover, the upper six inches of which shall be capable of supporting vegetation, as well as grading and compacting as necessary to eliminate ponding, promote drainage, and minimize erosion. Our next step is to have our engineer visit the site and develop a scope of work that will be used to secure a third party engineer/contractor to design and execute the closure plan for the facility based on current site conditions. Once we have the site specific closure plan we will have the necessary information to calculate the exact cost of the closure taking into consideration the current site conditions and any recent efforts on the part South Palafox Properties to address site conditions.

As you may recall, the department also filed a lawsuit in circuit court against South Palafox Properties, which includes various other aspects of compliance and long-term care at the site, including South Palafox Properties’ failure to implement the required Remedial Action Plan to address groundwater impacts at the site. That circuit court case is scheduled for hearing Feb. 26, 2016. Escambia County joined the lawsuit as a co-plaintiff/plaintiff-intervener. These legal proceedings could result in fines that may translate to leans but this process will be dependent on the court’s decision.

Please let me know if you need anything else.


Brandy M. Smith
External Affairs Manager

Yesterday, Dr. Horning was interview on “Pensacola Speaks” about Wedgewood.