Clearwater couple told they’ll have to pay $1,500 to dispose flammable liquid found in waterway

Better Call Behnken

CLEARWATER, Fla. (WFLA) – Daniel and Norris Keating thought they were doing the responsible thing when they removed a 55-gallon drum, marked “flammable liquid,” they found floating in the waterway behind their house.

“I’m being punished for trying to do good,” Daniel Keating said.

The label on the drum reads, “Ethyl Alcohol.” Keating said he called county officials and tried to drop off the drum at a hazardous waste drop-off location, but was turned away. The county, he said, recommended he call police and then the fire department showed up

After all of that, he says he was told that since it was on his property, it was his problem. He was given the name of a contractor the county does business with. The quote: $1,500 to remove and dispose of the drum.

“I don’t have that kind of money,” Keating said. “I have kids in college. That needs to go toward college bills, not getting a barrel gone.”

He turned to Better Call Behnken for help.

After a call to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Keating said he received a response from the Emergency Response Team. They want to pick up the drum next week and investigate, he said.

Keating hopes this means the drum will be carted away, at no expense to him.

The DEP sent this statement:

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is currently investigating this incident. DEP commends citizen Daniel Keating for taking swift action to protect Florida’s environment. For events like this, DEP’s Office of Emergency Response provides technical and on-site assistance to ensure threats to the environment and human safety are quickly and effectively addressed. DEP’s emergency responders will be working with Mr. Keating to ensure the drum is properly disposed.

In order to best serve Floridians and for the benefit of the community, DEP encourages the general public to file complaints or concerns directly to appropriate geographical district office (https://floridadep.gov/districts) or to contact the State Watch Office (1-800-320-0519).

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