The former Indian River State College Fire Training Facility is located at:
35th Street Fort Pierce, FL 34981
The Former Indian River State College (FIRSC) Fire Training Facility was located within the southern portion of the main campus along 35th Street between Virginia Avenue to the north and Cortez Boulevard to the south in Fort Pierce, St. Lucie County, Florida. Firefighting training was performed at this site starting in the 1980s before being relocated to its current address at 4600 Kirby Loop, Ft. Pierce. A preliminary review of historical aerials (beginning in 1994) indicated that the former fire training facility continued to operate until March 2009. Historical street view images indicate that an on-site fire training tower, burn buildings, and props were features associated with the fire training facility and were used to create training simulations. By December 2010, earth-moving activities associated with the construction of a new building and parking area in the southern portion of the campus were visible.
Within the 80-acre campus, the footprint of the environmental assessment area includes the former location of a fire training facility (south-central portion of the campus), which currently includes a parking lot and a retention pond. The surrounding area includes a drainage ditch, truck driving school and nearby residential neighborhood.
Between March and May 2020, a DEP Contractor completed a site assessment at the FIRSC that included soil, groundwater, surface water, and sediment sampling to assess the presence and extent of PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) in site media. Results indicated soil concentrations of PFOA (perfluorooctanoate acid) and/or PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonate) were above soil cleanup target levels (SCTLs) at multiple depth intervals in soil sample locations within the former facility operational area. Groundwater concentrations of PFOA and/or PFOS were above provisional groundwater cleanup target levels (GCTLs) in samples collected from monitoring wells and screen point samples installed 5-15 ft below land surface (BLS) and 66-90 ft BLS located near the former operational area. Surface water concentrations of PFOA and PFOS within the canal south of the former facility represents a potential exposure pathway based solely on the consumption of surface water. Sediment concentration of PFOS in the retention area surpassed the provisional SCTL and may represent a source of PFAS that could leach into groundwater and/or surface water.
DEP advised the Florida Department of Health of these results and directed them to develop and implement a community sampling plan. DOH completed the sampling of seventy potable wells around the Former Indian River State College and its current location on April 10, 2020, and found twelve wells that exceeded the Health Advisory Level. Community private well sampling by DOH is ongoing.
During 2021, additional on and off-site assessment has been performed to further delineate groundwater contamination. Assessment included additional surface water sampling, DPT sampling, permanent monitor well installations and a monitor well network sampling event. Results from this field work will be presented in a Supplemental Site Assessment Report available the end of October 2021.
DEP’s Water Supply Restoration Program is providing bottled water to all interested affected private well owners whose test results exceeded the established EPA Health Advisory Level. This voluntary program also provides funding for a filter, well restoration or connection to public water system as necessary to ensure a safe drinking water supply. This bottled water supply will remain available until one of these options is in place.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is the state’s lead agency for environmental management and stewardship – protecting our air, water and land. The vision of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is to create strong community partnerships, safeguard Florida’s natural resources and enhance its ecosystems.