DeLand residents concerned after chemical plant fined for illegal dumping

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DELAND, Fla. —

Some DeLand residents are concerned after a nearby chemical plant was fined for illegally dumping waste into the ground.
 
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection found that Thatcher Chemical of Florida dumped hundreds of thousands of pounds of chemical sludge in a wooded area behind DeLand facility.
 
Residents in the area told Channel 9's Blaine Tolison that they want the plant to face criminal charges because they believe the illegal dumping has put their health at risk.
 
"To be that negligent and dump in someone's backyard where there are lots of children playing every day, that's pretty scary," said resident Carmen Baron.
 
Baron lives in a home close to Thatcher Chemical.
 
"The first thing I thought was scary, scary, scary -- cancer, asthma, any kind of illness. I have a 16-year-old son, and my main concern was for him," said Baron.
 
The FDEP estimates between 100,000 and 200,000 pounds of ferric sulfate sludge, a byproduct of Thatcher's production process, was dumped between 2010 and 2011. Now, the state is requiring the plant to remove the contaminated soil and Thatcher is facing a $230,000 fine.
 
"(It's) very frustrating, you know? You assume that many companies are honest and they obey the rules and regulations for all," said resident Rosemary Nupp.
 
The state said law enforcement is involved but no criminal charges have been filed.
 
Most residents in the area are on city water, which is safe, but they're still concerned about the long-term effects.
 
"What are the risks we're going to face in the next five, 10, 15, even 20 years?" asked Baron.
 
Local leaders said they, along with the Environmental Protection Agency, are looking into the situation. Residents said they will be meeting with the groups in a few weeks.