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May 2001 update - compiled by Helane Shields - prepared for WWW by ESRA

Polk City, Florida

Maria Sizemore 813-984-4416. Phone Conversation 7/6/95

Polk City is between Orlando and Tampa. It is over the major Florida aquifer. The Sizemore's address is 4595 Old Grade Road, Polk City, Fla. 33868

Maria Sizemore and her husband moved to Polk City in June of 1991. Right after she arrived she started getting nose bleeds, headaches, she vomited and had diarrhea. After three weeks one of her horses (12 years old) had a tumor, another (6 years old) had a tumor on his leg, a mares ovaries swelled and her back legs became stiff.

Mania had cysts in her ovaries.. She had a partial hysterectomy in October. 1993 and had the left ovary removed. The right ovary had no sign of a cyst at the time of the operation. Six months later she had a second hysterectomy because her right ovary grew a cyst. She has lost about 30 pounds and her husband has lost about 20 pounds, She has skin rashes and her bones ache all the time.

She has found out that the land they had acquired had had sludge dumped on it for about three years before they acquired the land. The man who leased the adjacent property had applied for a permit to dump sludge on his own land and when it was not issued he dumped the sludge on the adjacent property owned by someone else without their permission.

Complaints to the Florida DER and DCA were of no avail as they merely said they had no records of the dumping. Eventually the DER tested the well water and found it was high in iron and lead. The Florida Toxic and Hazard Waste Department did the testing, but would not comment on the results. They refused to answer any phone calls or correspondence. A separate laboratory looked at the results of the test and commented that the test were incomplete and that the contaminants that should have been tested for were not.

The Sizemores are suing the man who applied the sludge and the two trucking companies that hauled the sludge. Their attorney is Susan Coe (804-235-4505). Coe's law clerk is Ramona. The suit was filed in May of 1995

A reporter, Chris Hawes (813-627-7585) of the Sarasota Herald Times has done several stories on the case.

A side issue indicating the lack of concern for the aquifer in Florida is the fact that 200 acres in the same area has been permitted to allow Ringling Brothers to keep elephants on the property. The elephants will produce 35000 gallons of urine every day. When the local community wanted to appeal the permit they were told by Andy Ireland a Florida representative (check this) in the US house of Representatives that they shouldn't bother as it wouldn't do any good. When the community tried to call the DER and DCA about the issue their phone calls were not returned. When the local newspapers called DER and DCA, the DER called Sizemore and gave her hell for telling the papers about the situation.


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