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Airport Authority Reaches Agreement with Florida DEP; Continues Making Environmental Improvements

Dépèche transmise le 23 juillet 2009 par Business Wire

Airport Authority Reaches Agreement with Florida DEP; Continues Making Environmental Improvements

Airport Authority Reaches Agreement with Florida DEP; Continues Making Environmental Improvements

PANAMA CITY, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Panama City – Bay County International Airport and Industrial District (Airport Authority) today reached agreement with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) on a series of steps to address temporary stormwater management issues that occurred during construction at the new Panama City – Bay County International Airport construction site in northwestern Bay County.

The Airport Authority reacted quickly in May 2009 to address the stormwater management issues. Since then, the Airport Authority and FDEP have been working together on a final agreement based on the plan submitted by the Airport Authority to address environmental concerns. Under terms of the agreement, the Airport Authority has agreed to pay a $251,000 fine to FDEP.

The Airport Authority is working with FDEP to reinvest the fine in further environmental improvements at the new airport.

“Regardless of heavy rains, the situation with our stormwater management system was unacceptable, and we moved as quickly as possible to address all the shortcomings,” said Joe Tannehill, Chairman of the Airport Authority. “Throughout this process we have continued to work closely with the Florida DEP, and we believe we have reached an outcome that is not only fair, but will also benefit the environment and the people of Bay County.”

“The Airport Authority has set a very high environmental standard for the new airport,” Tannehill continued. “We remain committed to designing, building and operating America’s first green airport based on our detailed plans for wetlands mitigation, wildlife management, wastewater treatment and, yes, stormwater management that greatly exceed minimum requirements set by Florida law.”

To date, the Airport Authority has undertaken extensive efforts to meet and exceed the agreed upon plan issued by the FDEP and to prepare the site to be able to manage a tropical storm event during hurricane season. The airport has committed $400,000 to expedite necessary projects and improvements.

The Airport Authority has taken the following actions to ensure the airport site is prepared for any future tropical rain event:

  • Major stabilization of grading and seeding around the airport site to reduce soil erosion. Stabilization of the site including seeding, seed drilling, mulching and paving.
    • To date:
      • 825 acres are under final stabilization
      • 210 acres are under temporary stabilization
      • 375 acres are undergoing stabilization
      • 125 acres still to be stabilized
  • All perimeter ditches have been fully sodded and there has been re-grading and re-sodding of ditches along the General Aviation Access Road.
  • Erosion control measures are in place, including:
    • Silt fencing in place and checked daily.
    • Hay bales in ditches.
    • Increased berms around the site.
  • The construction team is working to make stormwater treatment ponds fully functional and in accordance with their final design.
  • The construction team has updated plan to handle large rain events in the future.
  • Site management system has been streamlined – each contractor has appointed a single point of contact with decision-making authority.
    • The team has implemented a proactive environmental compliance management program that includes designated personnel, clear chain of command and timely reporting to the Airport Authority.
    • The team has established a method of improved communication between the Airport construction team and the DEP including weekly and monthly reporting.
  • The construction team has created and implemented a detailed schedule for removal of displaced sands in adjacent off-site areas and any associated environmental restoration.
  • The Airport Authority established milestones for construction activities related to bringing the permanent stormwater features to their final conditions.

“I am pleased with the way construction team has responded and addressed the stormwater management issues,” said Tannehill. “We’ve seen a dramatic improvement over the last 75 days. I also want to thank FDEP for all their work. This has been a team effort, and the project, the environment and the people of Bay County are the ultimate beneficiaries.”

Business Wire

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