Clay County resident complaints prompt action to correct Black Creek pollution issues

Don Johnson

A FDOT contractor has taken steps to correct dirt runoff into Black Creek from the ongoing construction of the First Coast Expressway, the St. Johns River Water Management District said Wednesday.

The District said it had recently received three complaints from Clay County residents about pollution issues on Black Creek. The creek is a 13-mile long tributary of the St. Johns River. Residents said dark colored dirt had flowed into the creek from heavy rains last week.

“This is not what Black Creek should look like! It's a Mud Hole this morning from the runoff of this new highway project,” one resident posted on Facebook.

NewsBreak contacted the St. Johns River Water Management District and received this response in an email Wednesday afternoon.

“The St. Johns River Water Management District is aware of three citizen complaints regarding the First Coast Expressway and possible impacts to Black Creek.

District staff have spoken to both the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and the complainants about the incidents reported and are committed to ensuring the permittees are managing their construction sites in accordance with their District permit.

FDOT received separate notifications from one of the concerned citizens last week and performed a site inspection on Aug. 30. Upon inspection, the project engineer informed FDOT staff that some of the site's erosion control measures failed during the heavy rains last week, which resulted in some turbid runoff to enter Black Creek.

As a result, the contractor has taken the following immediate actions:

  • Failed erosion control devices reestablished.
  • Additional erosion control devices added such as additional silt fence, floating turbidity barrier, check dams and artificial covering.
  • Aggressively pursuing final grading of specific slopes and ditches to facilitate the placement of sod for permanent stabilization.

The District said the contractor anticipates completing these measures by Wednesday, Aug. 31.

The contractor has also committed to monitoring the area daily and during each rainstorm to evaluate if the additional protection measures are working, according to the email.

District staff still plan to complete a site inspection to ensure proper protections are in place and are working effectively, a district spokeswoman said in the email.

https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=3baC9j_0hcuJcTj00
Residents took photos of dirt runoff into Black Creek.Photo via Facebook.

https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=3AQkzH_0hcuJcTj00
Dirt runoff flowed into Black Creek after heavy rains.Photo via Facebook

https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=2elefu_0hcuJcTj00
Runoff from roadway construction pollutes Black Creek.Photo via Facebook

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Veteran journalist with experience in website and newspaper content as an editor and writer. I have worked as a reporter at newspapers and websites in Florida, California and Arkansas. I am a former executive editor at the Tampa Bay Business Journal and worked for 12 years at The Tampa Tribune as an enterprise editor and business editor. At Patch.com, I produced stories for 24 websites in the Tampa Bay area and also edited content for websites in six states.

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