PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Crews started this process Monday, to remove all 300 tons of radioactive soil.
It began last summer. The Florida Department of Health was doing its annual radiation survey. Crews drove by a empty lot on Solana Road, and their testing instruments went off the charts.
EPA On-site Coordinator Terry Stilman says, "It's not usual. Especially for a residential area."
The Environmental Protection Agency was called to the site for additional tests, and confirmed there was in fact radioactive material. Stilman believes it's been festering since the early 1900s, back when Ponte Vedra was called the Mineral City. "We think during the processing of mineral sands, to take out some of the rare minerals, some of the radiation was concentrated and possibly put back into the ground." he says.
Because radioactive material is so toxic, the cleanup process has to be flawless from start to finish. Stilman says, "We also do testing throughout the cleanup to make sure that we're not spreading any contamination, that the on-site workers are being safe."
The empty lot does not have a house or family living on it, but Stilman says its important to fix it now. "At this stage it's not a danger to adjacent residents."
Crews will remain at the site until Saturday, to ensure they remove all contaminated soil.
The radioactive waste is being transported to a disposal facility in Idaho.