Chief Spera - "Three Days to a Week Before We See a Real Appreciable Change in Conditions"
St. Lucie County - Tuesday September 13, 2022: St. Lucie County Officials called a news conference this afternoon to address concerns about the ongoing fumes from the Glades Mulch Fire and the plan they've jointly worked out to put an end to it.
St. Lucie County Fire Chief Nate Spera described the plan now in the works to pump five to six million gallons of water into a dyke that’s being built around the smoldering debris and put the smoke and fire out for good. The developer who owns the property is building it and paying for it. The water is coming from a 36-inch reclaimed water line was found a mile north of the smoking debris.
"It takes about a million and a half gallons to create one-foot of water, so we’re anticipating that this is going to take a few days to really be effective for us," said Chief Spera. "I’m anticipating between three days and a week before we see a real appreciable change in conditions out there.”
One major concern expressed by residents affected by the fumes is whether there are any chemical contaminants in the smoke. State Representative Dana Trabulsy.
“The concerns that we’ve gotten from people that believe that this debris maybe treated chemically ... it is not," said Trabulsy. "So, rest assured even though it is smoke and it is bothersome and it maybe causing some health concerns, you don’t have to worry about this being treated wood that is going to cause any type of chemical reaction.”
But has anybody actually tested the smoke to determine what’s in it?
Jennifer Harris is with the Florida Department of Health in St. Lucie County.
WQCS: "You don’t monitor air quality really, that doesn’t fall under your responsibility, is that correct? "
Harris: "That’s correct. Our primary function is to provide advice and guidance to residents. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has that regulatory authority.”
The Florida Department of Environmental protection did not return numerous calls to answer that question, and no representative from Florida DEP was present at the news conference to answer that question either.