Graduation Year

2007

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.A.

Degree Granting Department

Geography

Major Professor

Phillip Reeder, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Elizabeth Strom, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Graham Tobin, Ph.D.

Keywords

biologic, edaphologic, geographic, geomorphic, pedogenic

Abstract

This thesis was completed in order to assess and document the environmental effects that

are the result of elemental phosphorus production in Pinellas County Florida. The study

utilized a collection of information resources that included: personal interviews, technical

references, historical documents, legal documents and field observations. By utilizing

five different sources of information a broad understanding of the problem was

developed.

Pinellas County and Tarpon Springs officials were interested in creating a more

diversified economy in the years following World War-II. The Victor Chemical Works

Company responded to the interest in economic diversity by proposing to build an

elemental phosphorus production facility in the area of greater Tarpon Springs, Florida.

The elemental phosphorus production facility was completed and began operation in

November of 1947. Three months after the facility commenced production local

residents noticed damage to trees and painted surfaces on private properties. Seven

months following commencement of elemental phosphorus production local residents

filed suit against the Victor Chemical Works Company due to deleterious gasses

and dust that appeared to be damaging to biologic health. The elemental phosphorus

production facility operated from 1947 to 1981.

The 34-year operational period exposed workers, residents and biologic communities to

extended periods of elevated sulfur dioxide, phosphorus pentoxide gas, phosphine gas,

fluorine, lead, radium-226 and asbestos.

Utilizing personal interviews, technical document review, legal document review

and field observations the thesis provided an amalgamation of diverse information upon

which the conclusions were based. The research concludes that the production of

elemental phosphorus exposed all physical and cultural environments of northwest

Pinellas County to many complex adverse environmental impacts that continue to persist

in 2007, approximately 26-years following the suspension of production.

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