Radioactive soil found in Ponte Vedra Beach neighborhood

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- About 300 tons of radioactive soil is being removed this week from a lot on Solana Road. The property is in the middle of a residential neighborhood.

The EPA started the clean-up process on Monday and expects to be finished hauling off the potentially toxic dirt on Saturday.

Rose Marie Lingenfelser had no idea she had been living next door to radioactive soil for decades until someone with the EPA knocked at her door last year and told her crews would be digging up the lot.

"He went on to explain there were trucks going around during the TPC to make sure everything was safe and obviously a few bells and whistles went off and they said they might have to come and see about our property. Obviously they don't, but I do find it strange just to be right there," Lingenfelser said.

On Monday workers, some dressed in protective white suits, started removing the dirt.

"The levels here on this property were above the state Department of Health's annual exposure limit for residential persons, but it represented no threat to anyone transiently passing by the property," EPA On-Scene Coordinator Chuck Berry said.

About 20 truck loads of potentially hazardous soil is being sent to a radioactive landfill in Idaho. The EPA thinks it had been there since World War I, when the land was mined and that long-term exposure could include an increased risk of cancer.

"We don't feel there is any current level resulting from contamination on this property that would endanger residents immediately surrounding it. We are here to remediate the potential threat that lies from someone residing on this property," Berry said.

As for the Lingenfelsers, they say they're not concerned.

"I'm just happy they're taking care of it and it's gone," Robert Lingenfelser said.

The EPA says the week long cleanup will likely cost tax payers about $400,000. When crews finish Saturday, the EPA says the land should be safe for someone to live on but tests will be performed to make sure that that is the case.

The EPAs has posted an onlinereport on the Solana Road Radiation Site.


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