Drum of mysterious flammable liquid destroyed by state after Clearwater couple pulls it from waterway

Better Call Behnken

Better Call Behnken gets results after couple was told they'd have to pay $1,500 to dispose of bin

CLEARWATER, Fla. (WFLA) – Daniel and Norris Keating are thrilled that a drum containing a mysterious flammable liquid is finally gone. This is after they were told they’d have to pay $1,500 to dispose of it themselves, all because they removed it from the waterway behind their home.

“I can ring in the New Year relaxed and knowing there’s no hazardous waste on my property,” Daniel Keating said. “I just wish the citizens wouldn’t get the runaround.”

The Keatings turned to Better Call Behnken for help earlier this month. Days later, the barrel was removed by workers for Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection.

This all started when the Keatings thought they were doing the responsible thing by removing a 55-gallon drum marked “flammable liquid.” They found it floating in the waterway behind their house.

“I’m being punished for trying to do good,” Daniel Keating said when he first contacted Better Call Behnken.

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 said 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 and got a 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.

The DEP says it is investigating but has not yet determined how the barrel ended up in the waterway. State officials did, however, thank the Keatings for protecting the environment and said they did the right thing removing the drum.

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