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~Action to help quell environmental, health concerns of residents~


More than 19,300 cubic yards of waste at the Coyote Land Co. in Panama City will be removed as part of the in-kind project proposed by Phoenix Construction Services, Inc.

PANAMA CITY – The Florida Department of Environmental Protection, with the support of Panama City and Bay County, has approved Phoenix Construction Services, Inc.'s in-kind project proposal to remove and dispose waste from Coyote Land Co. Inc.'s Coyote Disposal Facility.

The Coyote Disposal Facility, located at 2101 East 9th St. Panama City, was previously permitted as a transfer station for solid waste. The property has been an environmental hazard and community concern for years, particularly since the station closed in 2011.

Coyote Land Co., Inc. has a history of compliance issues at the site and an application for permit renewal was first denied on Sept. 17, 2010. Although the company petitioned the denial, the Department's decision was upheld by an administrative law judge and an order to close, which required the site to be closed in accordance with Florida Administrative Code, was issued Aug. 22, 2011.

Since the facility ceased operation and the owner abandoned the site, the Department has worked with its partners in Panama City and Bay County to develop a creative solution to this complicated problem.

In order to resolve environmental concerns at the property, the Department and its partners proposed a “pollution prevention project” valued at more than $500,000 that satisfies a penalty agreed upon by Phoenix Construction in an unrelated 2010 consent order. That consent order was a settlement of violations of a NPDES Stormwater construction generic permit at the site of the Northwest Florida Beach International Airport. In lieu of paying a monetary penalty for those previous unrelated violations, Phoenix Construction chose to submit this in-kind project to offset those penalties. Phoenix Construction will remove and properly dispose of the estimated 19,300 cubic yards of waste within the Coyote Land Co. property.

"I am appreciative of the support we received from the City and the County as we have worked to resolve a very complicated issue, and I am pleased that we now have a path forward," said Northwest District Director, Shawn Hamilton. "This is truly a win for both the community and the environment and I look forward to seeing this project completed."

There are numerous environmental benefits associated with cleaning up this disposal site. Benefits include the elimination of a potential groundwater contamination source, removal of the source of odors, elimination of a source of wind- or water- borne contaminants and the removal of a significant fire risk, among others.

"On behalf of the Panama City Commission and especially the constituents of Millville it is a wonderful day when the DEP, the County and the City of Panama City can work together to solve a major problem," said Panama City Mayor Greg Brudnicki. "We appreciate the spirit of cooperation with Phoenix Construction and the DEP to make this happen."

The Department anticipates that Phoenix Construction will begin work within 45 days of Monday, when the project was approved, and the project should be complete within 75 days.