‘Traces’ of toxic heavy metals found near Bridgeport barge, DEP says – Action News Jax
JACKSONVILLE, Fla – Locals are tired of seeing the Bridgeport barge on the horizon. But it is what comes out of it that is of concern.
It came from a power plant in Puerto Rico and, according to Jim Lawrence, spokesperson for the recovery effort, it potentially carried up to 9,000 tonnes of Agremax, or waste coal ash.
In March, the barge ran aground just outside the mouth of the Saint John River. Then a storm in May caused the barge to dump some of the waste into the ocean.
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“We are not very happy with it. We go out every day and go swimming here. Little girl here, we must look for her in the future. It must have a nice beach and a safe beach to go to play, ”said Carl Barber, Atlantic Beach resident.
Barber takes his granddaughter for a swim every day. He fears that she will be exposed to toxic waste.
State Department of Environmental Protection’s water sampling reports show traces of heavy metals, including arsenic, lead, and mercury.
Russell Simpson of the Florida DEP told Action News Jax the results “did not cause any water quality violations,” adding that the crews had taken measurements against the water quality standards of the state.
Lawrence said on Tuesday that crews refloated the barge and were awaiting Coast Guard approval to tow it to port.
Action News Jax was at the site Wednesday and watched the crews perform a “test tow,” which Lawrence said is standard procedure to make sure all goes well. Lawrence said the official move to the port is expected on Friday.
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Meanwhile, locals like Barber say the barge should have been towed much sooner.
“It shouldn’t be there in the first place, it’s not our garbage, it’s someone else’s garbage,” he said.
You can stay up to date on the Bridgeport Barge Incident Response webpage here.
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