No Warning Signs About Contamination in Local Creeks | Environment

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No Warning Signs About Contamination in Local Creeks
Environment

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- There's still a fish consumption advisory for Hogan and Long Branch Creeks in Duval County.

EPA tests show there are serious toxins in the fish.  Local government agencies held community meetings to warn people, but are they doing enough?

There are still no signs warning people not to eat the fish from either creek.

Angler Keith Gunter said he has fished in the contaminated spots before, "As a matter of fact this past year."  He said he did not know about the warnings.

The Duval County Health Department issued a warning that EPA tests show large mouth bass and striped mullet are contaminated with polyaromatic hydrocarbons or PAH's, a known carcinogen. 

The results also show large mouth bass and blue tilapia in Long Branch are contaminated with the pesticide dieldrin, which could cause headaches and vomiting.  

EPA scientists said the contamination comes from pollutants and waste from industrial companies.

On July 14th, Dr. Aaron Hilliard from the Duval County Health Department said the signs would be ready within 30 days.  "Well it could be sooner. We have the signs made, so we hope we can get the company that produce the signs and get them out in the areas."

Neil Armingeon, the St. John's Riverkeeper said the danger is real.

"Some of these levels of PCB's and PAH's are really high.  This is not just a potential health risk. If people consume a lot of these fish, this is a real heath risk."

Vincent Seibold, the chief of the City of Jacksonville's Environmental Division, is now overseeing the production of the signs.  He said there is a reason for the delay. 

"Right.  That was also around the time that we thought the funding was coming from a different source and we were going to be able to contract it out.  That plan changed, so we went to our traffic engineering folks."

Seibold said the health department followed the state law for informing people, and signs are not a part of that requirement.  He said the city is taking the initiative to do something extra to warn people by paying for and posting the signs.

Seibold said the signs are coming; 22 of them.  Eleven will go along each creek.  He said the first two signs will be up by Tuesday, and the other 20 by the end of next week.

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