State, city investigate after construction site runoff in Southside Creek

JACKSONVILLE, Florida – News4Jax’s I-TEAM is getting involved after residents of Southside expressed concern about what could be an illegal dumping in their waterways.

Video from a neighbor’s drone shows what appears to be runoff from a nearby construction site entering Pottsburg Creek near Beach Boulevard and Hogan Road.

Now the city and state are looking into what’s going on, as crews at the site show no signs of slowing down.

Truck after truck arrived at the soil-filled site on Monday. The trucks then dumped the soil and a bulldozer put soil from the site into the truck before leaving.

Barbara Hanuscin is not happy to be happening behind her yard. It is an excavation site about 30 feet deep filled with water, mud and insects.

Southside construction site under investigation after seen runoff. (Courtesy of Michael Best)
Southside construction site under investigation after seen runoff. (Courtesy of Michael Best)

“When you wake up, your bed shakes, your windows click, your dishes rattle, photos are distorted, dust is blowing everywhere. It has been a nightmare, ”Hanuscin said.

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It smells bad and she fears her house will sink. And that’s not all.

A drone video recorded by Michael Best shows hundreds of feet of silt being pumped into Pottsburg Creek and he is concerned it could contaminate the water.

Southside construction site under investigation after seen runoff. (Courtesy of Michael Best)

Other residents took News4Jax by boat to get a closer look at St. Johns Riverkeeper Lisa Rinaman.

“For them to knowingly and willfully dump excess dirt that does not belong to this ecosystem causes a multitude of problems,” Rinaman said.

She says the violations are clear and upsetting.

“We need to see what the breaches are and if there are loopholes that allow this to happen, these need to be closed immediately. Because it all adds up, ”Rinaman said.

Over the weekend, residents said they saw the sediment enter the Pottsburg Creek directly, which empties into the Saint John River, which then empties into the Atlantic Ocean.

News4Jax did some digging and discovered that the former owner of the property sold it in April to Baymit II LLC, a Tampa-based company, for $ 115,000 and over the past two months it has been used to swap land with a nearby construction site, according to residents. is going to be a big brand gas station.

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The city of Jacksonville received three complaints and visited the property and found contractors Shaw’s Clearing, Dirt on Demand and Brightway Realty to have violations. Inspectors asked them to fix the issues and News4Jax asked for their response.

Daniel Bergin, the owner of Dirt on Demand, confirmed that his company was one of the people involved in the project, but added, “It wasn’t us.

“At no time during the inspections was there any silt, sand or water leaving the site and contaminating the stream. It is unfortunate that this has happened, ”Bergin said in a statement to News4Jax.

Bergin said the pump was not working on Friday and his team had not pumped anything into the water. He said they are often inspected by city and state and will remove the pump from the site due to suspicious activity.

A city team was on site Monday in conjunction with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. He said an investigation was underway.

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Neighbors have said not only that they are demanding the construction project stop immediately, but that they also want the companies involved to clean up what they have been doing.

Copyright 2021 by WJXT News4Jax – All rights reserved.

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