Contaminated Casselberry land to get costly cleanup



CASSELBERRY, Fla. - Casselberry residents could soon be paying to clean up the land beneath the police station.

The city bought the property on Highway 17-92, near City Hall, 15 years ago. New tests show the land is contaminated.

It can't be seen just by looking at it, but city officials said there is a major environmental problem with the land where the police station sits.

They said the property, which used to be home to an auto service station, has dangerous amounts of petroleum.

Now, the land has to be cleaned up.

"It has to be done. I think the first question is, 'Where are they going to get the money to do that?'" said Casselberry resident Elizabeth Wright.

The city has won grant money to cover most of the estimated $600,000 cleanup costs.

As much as $140,000 will come from taxpayers.

City officials said they did test the land before they bought it and built the police station.

They said the results didn't raise cause for concern.

City officials said their best guess is that ground conditions must have changed over time.

Owners of neighboring businesses told WFTV's Bianca Castro that the stretch of 17-92, where the Police Department in located, used to be known as "car alley."

Some said they're not surprised by the findings.

"There's no telling if anybody did anything right or wrong. All you have to do is simply clean it up," said store owner Richard Roysum.

Some said they wonder whether the city did its homework before spending tax money.

"We've got potholes up and down our streets. To me, that makes me question it," said Wright.

The city bought the property for $660,000.

Cleanup is expected to begin in the next few months.