Two violations on trucks hauling coal ash to Osceola County were discovered in less than four hours during a Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) enforcement inspection Wednesday morning.
The investigation follows numerous complaints over recently about trucks heading to the JED Solid Waste Facility east of St. Cloud.
Thirteen vehicles were inspected this morning. Two warnings were issued to drivers, but no arrests were made, according to a FHP report.
Over 45,000 tons of coal ash has already been dumped at the JED landfill with more on the way. Trucks are moving the substance form Manatee Port in Tampa Bay, where it arrived by ship from Guayama, Puerto Rico last month.
On April 1, Osceola government gave a green light to Waste Connections – private owner and operator of JED - to import around 200,000 tons of coal ash from now until Dec. 31, though county officials say there’s no limit on how much they accept.
Coal ash’s toxic history in Puerto Rico coupled with a lack of government transparency surrounding the deal in Osceola County has sparked protests and public backlash in recent days.
Troopers stopped to weigh and inspect trucks for three in a half hours near U.S. Highway 192 and State Road 441 Wednesday morning, according to a FHP report.
All types of commercial motor vehicles were stopped, including sod trucks, garbage trucks and trucks hauling coal ash.
Two trucks hauling coal ash were cited for being over the weight limit by more than 5,000 pounds, said FHP Public Information Officer Kim Montes. Trucks entering the landfill aren’t supposed to exceed 88,000 pounds.
None of the trucks hauling coal ash were found to have unsecured loads or falling debris, Montes noted, despite comments made by some residents and protesters last week.
The trucks are privately owned but contracted through a company called Soil-Tech to haul the material from Manatee Port to Osceola County. Two ships carrying the substance arrived at port there in April from a coal-based energy plant owned by Applied Energy Systems (AES) in Puerto Rico.
Montes said other enforcement operations will be conducted, but a date has not been set.