It was late July 1995 when neighbors of the Solite Corporation plant in the Russell Community of Green Cove Springs noticed an eerie quiet had descended upon the usually clamorous facility. Gone were the deep earthshakes and the rattling guttural sounds that echoed throughout the little community each time the big kiln's furnaces were fired and re-fired. Gone were the dark puffy plumes from the smokestacks that darkened the skies, even on the brightest of days. The sound of grinding gears and the thump-thud of heavy equipment had been steady at the plant several days before, especially late at night. Dump trucks, their loads covered, had been seen going in and out of Solite from nightfall to still-dark morning.
The stillness, while welcome, was puzzling. So a group of residents, accompanied by a reporter, decided to investigate. On an early weekday morning, the assembly gathered at the padlocked gates and peered inside.
Usually by 8 a.m., the plant's few employees were bustling around and vehicles were parked randomly around the yard. Not that day. One daring man in the group eventually scaled the high gate and entered the facility. Within minutes, he was back, shaking his head.
"They're gone," he said. "They're all gone."
But the Solite plant had left a memento for the folks of Russell: enough toxic wastes to terrify even the most stalwart of individuals. Coincidentally, just when Solite vanished, there appeared to be an above-average number of people sick, dying or dead in the Russell Community.
Weeks later, Solite circulated a press release, saying it had closed the plant due
to the large cost of operating expenses, and its sister corporation, Oldover, would remain on the property to import, store and transport hazardous waste to other facilities. The Oldover Corporation was simply a storage building on the property. No other activity had been seen on the property since the release.
Now, 23 years later, Solite is back, but sporting a kinder, gentler name: Stoneridge Farms. The company wants to sell its 900 acres, some of which are still highly contaminated, to a residential developer.
At a May 1, 2018 Clay County Planning Commission Meeting in Green Cove Springs, Stoneridge Farms showed up with an orchestrated alliance; each person in that group was careful not to utter the word Solite. The group was petitioning to raise the density on its property, so it could sell it as-is to developer Michael Danhour. Danhour wants to develop the land and sell it to builders to construct a large residential development, and possibly set aside land for a school. Unfortunately for the Farms folks, Russell Community members, new and longtime residents, also showed up en masse to put a damper on Stoneridge/Solite's plans.
The Solite saga is an ugly and tumultuous episode in Clay County's history, one most members of the Planning Commission and many residents have never heard about or have forgotten.
The small, rural Russell Community seemed a storybook place, offering a pleasant, quiet, simpler way of life. Small and large dairy, cattle and vegetable farms were mainstays in the area. Waterfront acreage was affordable on Black Creek and its tributaries. Residents shared their land for hunting, their waterfront banks for fishing, crabbing and picnicking; neighbors lent a hand when needed. It was a good life—until it wasn't.
The Solite plant moved into the very rural area in the '50s. Its workers dug clay from the abundant fields of its 900 acres, baking it at high temperatures, turning the substance into small concrete-looking pebbles. Water and chemicals were sprayed on the materials to cool them and condense gases from the burning process. This "scrubber water" was discharged into a "scrubber pond" by "overland flow." The scrubber pond then discharged into a 21-acre overflow pond, which contained "stormwater, scrubber water and sediment soils." The resultant product was used in building material.
Until the early '70s, Solite used non-hazardous waste fuel to fire the kiln. But with the lure of abundant and cheap hazardous materials, many companies, including Solite, would begin to import and burn some of the most dangerous wastes in the country. Then Solite erected the storage building for the property wastes, and formed a new company for it called Oldover.
With forethought, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had created a safeguard to protect humans and the environment from irresponsible users of toxic wastes. The Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA), then and now, required any entity that used, transported or stored hazardous waste to sign a contract to provide safety and environmental assurances before they began using or transporting such. RCRA requires 1) closure plans; 2) post-closures plans; 3) any modification to the plans; 4) public notice for changes to the plan; and 5) a copy of the property deed showing the property was used for hazardous wastes. However, the most important requirement in RCRA is this: Any company that desires to use hazardous waste must provide assurances of up-front monies to pay for closure or make regular deposits into a cleanup fund. These assurances were created, in part, so taxpayers would not be left paying for the cleanup.
Emails from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection stated Solite did have the closure plan and financial assurances in place before it was allowed to use the toxic material. Solite/Oldover began bringing in large amounts of wastes by truck and train.
The EPA and FDEP also requires any company that transports, stores or burns hazardous wastes to obtain a permit guaranteeing that the equipment, and procedures for using the wastes, protects human life and the environment. The permit strengthened the EPA's oversight on corporations that dealt with hazardous wastes. At the time, federal regulators did give temporary waivers to facilities that had previously been burning non-hazardous wastes under a Boiler & Industrial Furnace rule (BIF). This allowed those companies to stay in business and to commence burning hazardous waste while in the process of acquiring a permit. Solite, a BIF facility, applied for, and was granted, just such a waiver.
According to EPA and FDEP documents, there were instances when Solite, which appeared to be in the permitting process, was fined for not meeting the standards for using hazardous wastes. The company negotiated a reduction of the fines and paid them. Solite never obtained a permit. It simply stayed in the permitting process for the duration of its existence in Green Cove Springs—almost 25 years, until it furtively stole away in the middle of a summer night.
One environmental legal expert said it may have been much cheaper for Solite to pay the fines than to update the expensive equipment and adhere to the strict regulations imposed by federal agencies for burning toxic fuels.
The smokestacks of the Solite plant were a common sight in Russell, and since the plant had been there since the '50s, folks accepted their presence. Residents said there was never any notice that the plant had begun transporting and burning hazardous materials. Current and former residents have said that, for many years, they noticed the smell from the stacks grew more acrid and the smoke became darker. Former dairy farmers said their cows' milk sometimes tasted "funny."
In the early '90s, and later, the southern portion of Clay County was known for its "Good Ol' Boy" politics. But there were few places where their political power was more noticeable than the Clay County Board of Commissioners. Commission seats were sometimes bequeathed from father to son. Though Solite employed relatively few residents, its local attorney was one of the most powerful men in the county and a GOB in good standing. By association, Solite's upper management personnel became members-in-good-standing of the political GOBs.
Ironically, Solite held a yearly Earth Day picnic at the plant, complete with free food, T-shirts and political back-slapping amid a thin layer of ash covering everything that hadn't been hosed off. Picnickers had to pass by a green-glowing pond to get to games and festivities; the pond was later shown to contain a host of hazardous wastes that could destroy humans, animals and the environment: PCBs, benzenes, dioxin, arsenic, lead, and more.
In 1993, 33-year-old lawyers Stewart and Priscilla Harris moved to the community, along with their two preschool-age sons, to care for Priscilla's mom, who had kidney cancer. (Her father had already died from cancer.) Priscilla had grown up in Russell but she'd left the area after graduating from high school. After her mother died, the Harrises decided to stay. They had learned to love the quiet community and its unpretentious, big-hearted residents, and agreed it was a great place to raise their sons.
It wasn't long after the Harrises decided to settle down there that they realized the Russell Community had been experiencing, for several years, a large number of illnesses and deaths, disproportionate to the population of such a small community. Colon and other types of cancers were common, as were miscarriages, birth defects, allergies, headaches and an assortment of other ailments.
Led by the Harrises, neighbor Kelly Grey, who had battled cancer herself, a local physician and his wife, and about 200 more citizens from the small community and those who supported them formed Florida Family for Clean Air (FFCA). They began to search for answers and solutions to their health problems.
Priscilla Harris began an extensive, dogged pursuit of environmental documents pertaining to the area. Priscilla, Stewart and members of the group waded through myriad boxes of information she had gathered from all types of governing agencies, including the EPA and FDEP. Finally, in early 1995, the FFCA members felt they had the answer.
They'd discovered documents which proved Solite had been burning hazardous wastes that were trucked and railed in from what appeared to be all over the Eastern Seaboard since the early '70s. A 1990 Consent Order from the EPA and FDEP also showed Solite had contaminated parts of the land, released dangerous emissions into the air, and had toxic spills flowing into waterways.
In a bizarre twist, Priscilla Harris also discovered an ordinance that clearly prohibited the disposal and dumping of hazardous waste in Clay County. "Disposal" covered the burning of the wastes as fuel.
Many of the members of the FFCA were shocked by this discovery, and they began lobbying County Commissioners to do an environmental health study and enforce the ordinance prohibiting burning hazardous wastes. They feared for the lives of their families, future children and grandchildren, and their very way of life.
They soon realized they would have little support from their commission.
All commissioners, except Commissioner Charles "Buddy" Griffin, supported Solite and went on the attack against FFCA. While Griffin wanted to authorize a study, the other commissioners chastised them at public meetings for even suggesting that Solite may be putting their community at risk.
After a Florida Times-Union column detailed the group's fight and its efforts to start a health study, Commissioner Pat McGovern sent a letter to his neighborhood of Foxridge, one of the largest communities in Clay County at the time, regarding the issue. He said reports in the T-U about the hazardous waste contamination in Russell were false.
"I find them very difficult to deal with," McGovern was quoted in an Oct. 8, 1995, T-U article. "It seems like nothing pleases them. They get so emotional about things that there can be no dialogue."
Three of the commissioners said if there were hazardous constituents at Solite, the EPA would know about it. They were right. In fact, the EPA and the FDEP knew all about it.
A 42-page EPA document from 1990, which took three years to compile, said numerous "hazardous constituents ... have been detected in the sediments at the facility. These hazardous constituents pose a threat to human health and the environment." The document also noted that "environmentally significant releases of hazardous wastes and/or hazardous constituents have occurred from the facility." Additionally, the report stated hazardous compounds had been released into Mill Log Creek and Black Creek since 1983. The narrative also indicated the EPA had been working with the company to bring it into compliance and licensing.
Commissioner Larry Lancaster had up-close-and-personal knowledge about Solite. He lived directly across the street from the plant, with his young wife and three little children. He said his wife had been diagnosed with cancer; after being tested, studies showed her illness was environmental. After Lancaster's wife died, he and their children immediately moved. At the time, Lancaster, who has since died, kept silent and remained steadfastly in line with the other commissioners and Solite.
The issue became hotly debated and then escalated into an all-out war, with Griffin and the FFCA on one side and the rest of the commission and Solite, with its barrage of representatives and attorneys, on the other. There were community meetings, commission meetings, private meetings, local café brainstorm sessions and public and private shamings of the FFCA.
Solite's representatives and legal counsels consistently presented themselves as "good neighbors." However, on several occasions, plant representatives were caught with their proverbial pants down. Several residents testified that they had seen muddy materials being trucked out of Solite and dumped at the county landfill. Tom Poe, Solite's public relations director, initially denied this, then later recanted and said Solite had trucked 26,000 tons of clay to the landfill from August to November 1994 to be used as a liner for garbage. A representative from the county's solid waste division said the landfill had received "materials" from Solite but had accepted only 8,050 tons because most of it was "soupy and wet." The representative said there was no test for hazardous constituents.
A T-U reporter wrote that Solite/Oldover had received hazardous wastes from a New Jersey Superfund Site. Solite's plant manager said it was a "one-time thing that occurred somewhere in the early to mid-'80s and was a very small amount." A New Jersey DEP representative produced information that Solite/Oldover had accepted at least two shipments from 1988 to 1990, one totaling 19 tons, the other 45 tons.
Solite's senior plant manager, John Kuike, said the plants used the most "up-to-date" equipment. Yet federal documents showed numerous hazardous releases into the sediment, water and air at the plant.
Griffin faced an uphill battle. When it came to Solite, the four other commissioners saw no wrongdoing, and refused to accept any information to the contrary. They totally ignored the ordinance prohibiting burning hazardous wastes. Some continued to ridicule and downplay residents' worries and refused to authorize a health study or offer any help to the community. Property records show that members of then-Commissioner Dale Wilson's family were beneficiaries of Solite. They had originally owned much of the property and had sold it to Solite.
Meanwhile, Priscilla Harris continued her research and correspondence with the EPA and FDEP. A T-U reporter also visited the plant. Ash was spread everywhere throughout the facility; workers, mostly young, wore no protective gear, as had been mandated by OSHA. After a reporter notified that agency, OSHA promised to make an unscheduled visit to Solite. Constant communication from the Harrises and other Russell residents prompted EPA and FDEP to suggest they would make unscheduled visits to the facility. Very shortly thereafter, Solite disappeared.
The EPA and the FDEP finally conducted a meeting on Oct. 25, 1995. They acknowledged the hazardous contamination. They verified that ponds contained hazardous wastes and had overflowed into Mill and Black creeks. They verified their 1990 feasibility study to be correct, which revealed sediment samples from a scrubber pond and overflow pond "indicated that hazardous constituents, such as lead, PCB-1260, seven organic compounds including naphthalene and ethyldimethylbenzene, and five purgeable organic compounds including ethyl benzene, ethylmethylbenzene, were present." Despite their "organic" designations, these are very lethal chemical compounds.
The federal regulators assured citizens more testing would be done to determine the extent of the damage. Residents were troubled, because many of their wells were downstream from the areas containing hazardous materials, and many of the people had been breathing the smokestack emissions for more than 20 years. Some were also quite concerned with what they called the "fox and the henhouse" scenario: The EPA had charged Solite with conducting the tests and cleaning up its own mess. Their concern was warranted.
The FFCA got one last shot at Solite/Oldover. Although Solite was gone, Oldover, at least on paper, still occupied the property. Priscilla Harris found a little-known 1983 Florida law which imposed a 3 percent tax on income from the storage, treatment and disposal of hazardous wastes. Solite/Oldover was forced to write a check to the county for $47,000.
According to correspondence between federal regulators and Stoneridge Farms/Solite, the EPA and FDEP has been doing the slow dance with Solite since the '80s. The feds seemed to have picked out the music, but Solite was definitely leading the waltz.
The October 1995 meeting with the feds and the community looked like it would be the impetus to increase the tempo of the cleanup, provide some answers and protect folks in Russell from future harm. Though residents asked again, still no health studies were ever authorized. Solite was, however, ordered to test different parts of the 900-acre property and do samplings of the more contaminated sites, including one scrubber pond and a 350-foot-long ditch between it and one of the kilns. The company was ordered to dig up barrels known to be buried across the property and test for hazardous wastes around the barrel burial sites. Solite was ordered to provide remedial plans for cleanup, maps of contamination sites and to schedule meetings to address contamination. Reams of information were required.
Solite hired Golder Associates in St. Augustine to bring it into compliance with some requirements of FDEP and EPA, which began directives in 1996. Some steps took years to complete—some have yet to happen. To comply with some requirements, Solite used samplings taken years before. In its November 2010 progress report, Golder reported the discovery of "concentrations above residential exposures of some extremely toxic chemicals in different areas of the property."
Throughout the years, rumors of the sale and development of the property have come and gone. Several developers interested in the rural property have done an about-face after finding out about the hazardous wastes there and lack of cleanup.
Nearly a quarter-century after Solite sneaked off in the night, time, and death, may be on the side of development.
Kelly Grey, an integral part of the FFCA, died during her second battle with cancer several years ago. Other residents have remained sick, gotten well, moved away or stayed put. The Harrises moved to Virginia. The doctor and his wife kept their property just off Black Creek, but now live in the Jacksonville Beach area.
At the announcement that Solite has, at long last, found a buyer for the property, a new group of residents, along with some of the former FFCA members, banded together to get the area cleaned up and to prevent unsuspecting, innocent people from moving onto the property. A sign about the action had been placed in the community about a week before the Planning Commission Meeting.
At the May 1 Planning & Zoning meeting, Stoneridge Farms, aka Solite, requested a change in the property's zoning. Clay County's Planning & Zoning Department recommended the change; one representative said the department would rather see large developments in rural areas than "urban sprawl." This statement drew groans from Russell residents.
Stoneridge was represented by acting agent Susan Fraser, who was a planner and then director of the Clay County Planning & Zoning Department for 10 years. Her reputation was that she drew on her vast knowledge of the county's zoning issues. She was also known to be developer-friendly. She parlayed that knowledge and insider familiarity with county procedures to start SLF Consulting, a one-person consulting company in Jacksonville. Over the years, Fraser has become the go-to gal for anything involving development in Clay County. Including Stoneridge/Solite, three items to consider rezoning were on the May 1 agenda. Fraser represented all three, two of which had passed by the time Stoneridge Farm came up for consideration.
In her presentation, Fraser painted an idyllic picture of Stoneridge Farms. She referred to the hazardous waste contamination as Solid Waste Management Units (SWMUs), generally pronouncing them "SMOOS." Yes, she inferred, Stoneridge Farms had taken a few missteps. Now, she said, Stoneridge had a buyer who would give the county $2 million to clean up the SMOOS, which would be a win-win for all involved.
The land was divided into A, B and C. Sections A and C, she said, were considered "absolutely clean" by the DEP. The developer would build on the land without the SMOOS, then would use the $2 million to continue to clean portions of the contaminated land before it was developed. As the area was cleaned, she said, the developer would build on it. All the commission had to do was lower the density from Rural Residential to Rural Fringe, which would change the zoning from one home per acre to three homes per acre.
There was a lot Susan Fraser did not mention in her presentation. She failed to mention that the $2 million cleanup estimate had been made possibly as far back 1990 or 1996; nor did she bring up the fact that the estimate was not in 2018 dollars and that even this estimate may be a small start to a massive cleanup. She also never mentioned that her clients had signed contracts and been required by the federal government to clean up their mess and had failed to do so. She did not address the fate of about 70 acres identified as Tract D.
Fraser then introduced the gray-haired, rotund, grandfatherly Albert Galliano as the "owner" of Stoneridge Farms. Galliano, once the affable face of Solite, is now the even-more jovial face of Stoneridge Farms. However, he is not the owner of Stoneridge. Stoneridge is an inactive company in one of the pockets of Northeast Solite, in Virginia.
Galliano gave an aw-shucks presentation that maintained the "good neighbor" rhetoric. He said Stoneridge Farms was a responsible company, in business for 70 years. Galliano claimed that the kilns at Stoneridge Farms had burned 99.999 percent of the hazardous wastes away. Stoneridge, he said, had probably parked some worn-out heavy equipment on its 900 acres and some gasoline may have still been in some of those pieces; that gas had probably seeped into the ground. He suggested this was not a big deal and could be easily cleaned up.
In his brief remarks, developer Michael Dunhour guaranteed a positive outcome for the development. Though Dunhour wants zoning changes so builders can construct three houses per acre, he told commissioners, "I don't want to put houses where there is a problem."
Things were looking quite good for Fraser, the Farms and Dunhour ... until the planning commissioners closed the presentation portion of the meeting.
Immediately, Commissioner Belinda Johnson said she did not favor any development in that area until all the land was clean.
Commissioner Ralph Puckhaber did mention that the $2 million cleanup estimate was not up-to-date, and he thought it would cost a lot more to decontaminate the property. "That money is going to run out," Puckhaber told Fraser.
"I trust the DEP's ability to estimate this kind of work ... " Fraser responded.
A chorus of snickers came from both the commission and the audience.
Then things got worse for Fraser's cadre.
Russell residents were out in force; they came, one after another, to air grievances to the board. Some were concerned that a large number of developments have been allowed to be built all around their area, with only one entrance, creating hour-long traffic jams. Residents said trains often stop for long periods of time, making it impossible to get emergency services into Russell at times.
One resident, Tricia Foss, said she once had to hand her young son through the cars of a stopped train to paramedics to save his life.
Some folks were concerned about wildlife, some protected and endangered species that have few places left to live because the county has allowed destruction of their natural habitats.
Luann O'Neal invited the commissioners to their land. "We have seen deer swimming in Black Creek, trying to find new homes," she said. "They're in ditches because they have no place to go. This area is their last hope." O'Neal enumerated a plethora of animal and birds that live in the wild areas around their homes.
However, most residents were concerned about their neighbors and the unsuspecting families who would buy homes there in the future.
When Russell resident Michelle Gillis approached the podium, she directly addressed Albert Galliano about the contamination. "If it's minor, why are you on the Superfund site?" she asked. "If you are such a strong company and it has been in business 70-plus years .... They obviously have the money, then why haven't they cleaned up this, if it's just a $2 million cleanup? If that's all it [costs], that's pocket change to them."
"No one really knows what needs to be cleaned up," said resident Bob Attal when it was his turn to speak. "How many drums did they bury? We don't know! The open pond has had breaches already and contaminated other property-we don't know how much! Will it happen again? We don't know. There are too many unknowns in this project to go forward at this time." Attal said he'd heard estimates for a real cleanup ranging from $15 to $20 million. "Are the Clay County taxpayers going to get stuck with the cleanup or will we have several hundred homes sitting on contaminated soil? The current owner, Stoneridge Farms, should pay up to complete the remediation of the site before any development is considered."
Matthew Hansknecht had another take. He said Solite had created the contamination and was supposed to clean it up, however, now it wants to sell the property and have others clean it up. "My thought process is, 'I don't give a bonus or prize to my kids for bad behavior. I don't give my dog a treat for bad behavior.' I would like you to reconsider giving a bonus to somebody who polluted the land in the first place."
Gary Clark also challenged Galliano. "If Solite burned 99.9 percent of the material ... then how come we have arsenic and lead? Somebody's lying," Clark said. "I want the property cleaned up. I back up to that property. I have 12 acres. I have animals. I don't want to see my grandchildren, my family, get sick."
Dr. Kristen Burke, one of the community organizers, said archival reports depicted different results for hazardous constituents on the property. She said a neighbor, who was unable to attend, had hunted on the Solite property with his father, who had worked there. While hunting, long before the plant's closure, the neighbor told Dr. Burke he'd seen barrels being buried all over the property. When he returned, after being gone for several years, there were pine trees planted over a large barrel burial site. She produced a map where the man had drawn a diagram of the area indicating where the barrels were buried.
Dr. Burke had lots of questions for the commission. "There was documented overflow into Black Creek at the plant—why would there not still be overflow? The scrubber pond is 100 feet deep. We have heard there is equipment buried there. Who's going to find that out?" Burke challenged. "People in our neighborhood have been sick. No one ever addressed it. No one ever helped these people, ever! They were made fun of back then. So, who's going to take the liability if my kids get sick? These chemicals go into your DNA and affect future generations. This cannot be allowed! You have to make sure you protect us!"
The commission's comments were not much better for Stoneridge Farms. Commissioner Joe Anzalone said he moved to Clay County "from a community that had a problem with a major manufacturer who contaminated five miles. And I saw some children get very sick ... I personally don't think you should be developing anything around a contaminated site."
Commissioner Robert Machala agreed. He suggested the county take a step back and find out the actual cleanup cost. "I have heard an exhaustive history of what went on at Solite. I didn't hear the same kind of history as for it getting cleaned up, because nobody wanted to develop it at the time. Nobody cared about the people. When the operation shut down, everybody knew it was contaminated. Why was it not taken care of then? Make the people who contaminated it clean it up."
Seeing the writing on the commission wall, Susan Fraser requested a break to discuss the issue with her clients. Afterward, she asked for a continuance for the next Planning Commission meeting to be held on June 5. In the meantime, Fraser said, she and her clients would schedule a community meeting to allay citizens' fears.
When Folio Weekly asked, planning commissioners said they had no idea or information that Solite had been required by RCRA to provide funds to clean up the site. The FDEP seems to be waltzing around some issues as well.
FDEP representative Bryan Baker originally said he thought the developer was buying the entire 900 acres but wasn't sure how much of the acreage Stoneridge planned to purchase.
Baker originally wrote in an email to Michele and her husband Randy Gillis that the "eastern" portion of the property was "clean." However, when the Gillises started making inquiries, he retracted this statement. Baker said he should have said "we have no indication that it's contaminated."
Reassurances from the FDEP are becoming less and less reassuring. In fact, Bryan Baker admitted in an email to Randy Gillis that his "historical knowledge of the site is lacking; until recently it wasn't a project I was involved with and as you've noticed, not a lot has happened for several years."
Meanwhile, there's speculation that Solite's parent company, Northeast Solite, dumped the Solite name, divested all company holdings and transferred the Solite name to Stoneridge Farms to avoid cleanup costs.
On its website, Northeast Solite portrays itself as a company that is "a world leader in the process, innovation, construction application, and design of lightweight concrete for use in bridges, building, road and geotech application for over 70 years."
Lots of questions are still up in the air. Will the "world leader" lead a cleanup or leave the residents of Russell Community to live in the mess it created? Will Michael Dunhour take the risk to purchase land that abuts contaminated land—which could cost him a fortune to clean up if Clay County holds him responsible—or will he develop part of the land and pass it off to builders? Will, and can, the Planning Commission force Northeast Solite to abide by the terms of the RCRA contract or will commissioners allow Dunhour to buy some of the land and hope he gets stuck with the cleaning bill? Can Fraser pull a rabbit from her extensive bag of tricks so her clients will be spared from paying their tab? And, finally, will the land at the Solite plant in Green Cove Springs be cleaned up at last, or will the issue be swept under the filthy rug for another 23 years?