Tallahassee Files Lawsuit Against Refinery Over Chemical Cleanup

The city has filed a lawsuit demanding the refinery cleanup a dangerous chemical that has spread onto the city's power plant in St. Marks. Jim English says time is up. The City of Tallahassee has filed suit in Wakulla circuit court to take action against the owners of the St. Marks Refinery for pollution that has allegedly seeped onto the city's property, but that's exactly what's happening; the problem.

About 1 1/2 year ago an environmental test proved a cancerous chemical called dioxin had migrated from the St. Marks Refinery to the city's power plant next door. Since then, employees at the Purdom Power Plant steered clear of the contaminated area after environmental engineers said long-term exposure to dioxin can be harmful to their health, but that's not the only concern.

“This stuff will migrate, given the water table in St. Marks. It can migrate further towards St. Marks River,” Jim English says.

Attorney Gary Early with the law firm of Messer, Caparello and Self says he'll represent the refinery, but hasn't had the chance to review the 21-page lawsuit filed by the city.

English says he hopes to settle this out of court. He says cleanup is expensive, anywhere from $500,000 to $2.5 million, but it is necessary. The St. Marks Refinery was originally used as an asphalt and jet fuel refinery from 1954-1992.

English believes the dioxin originated in 1992 when the refinery was used as a wood treatment plant.