BRADENTON, Fla. (WFLA) – Palma Sola Harbour in Bradenton includes sweeping views of the bay, but mangroves on the border of the condo complex have allegedly been harmed with various types of solid waste.
A Department of Environmental Protection inspection report obtained by 8 On Your Side states “1,000 square feet of wetland” was impacted by alleged illegal dumping.
According to a DEP warning letter, department personnel noted, “solid waste material, including but not limited to wooden materials, tree debris, glass materials and concrete, filling wetlands.”
Paul Hallick, who worked for the HOA, said there was worse stuff put in the water.
“Dumping the chemicals into the bay is probably one of the worst,” Hallick said.
He claims at one point he was told to stack and cover chunks of old concrete to fill in a section of mangroves.
“Underneath what [people are] standing on and that rock is sitting on,” Hallick said. “That all used to be the mangroves. It was filled in.”
Hallick said he regrets listening to his “boss’ orders.”
“I needed a job,” Hallick said. “I didn’t want to lose my job.”
Hallick reported the dumping and other issues last spring, saying he “wanted it stopped.” A few weeks later he was fired.
“I lost [my job] because I went public,” Hallick said. “I know I did.”
Palma Sola manager Matthew Edwards said he did not want to comment on the allegations.
The DEP sent a warning letter to Palma Sola last November, but the agency has yet to respond to requests for details about what happened after the inspection and the letter.
Hallick now has another job, but he hopes his complaints lead to results.
“I hope it gets cleaned up,” Hallick said.
Hallick said he did not apply for help under the Florida Whistleblower Protection Act because he did not understand the process.
According to several sources, Manatee County Code Enforcement and the Department of Business and Professional and Regulation are also investigating. Requests for comment from those agencies have yet to be answered.
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