Homeowners Fighting To Restore Silversmith Creek | Environment

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Homeowners Fighting To Restore Silversmith Creek
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Three years ago when Ceila Lester purchased her home on Silversmith Creek she enjoyed kayaking on the waterway. But these days she doesn't.

"I can't take a kayak out because I might not make it back home before the tide changes," she said. 

Lester has pictures from 2009 of a clear pile of dirt in the middle of the creek. It is still there.

Lester said the dirt came from a drainage improvement project or septic tank phase-out project on Oakwood Drive.

"They had a water main break and when that water main broke, it washed that all here," said Lester. 

Since 2009, Lester and several of her neighbors have had meetings with JEA staffers but nothing has happened.

Refusing to give up, they submitted a petition to the utility company in April asking that the creek be restored.

JEA spokesperson Gerri Boyce said the utility has had multiple conversations with Lester. "This neighborhood's existing storm water infrastructure is substandard, with storm drains discharging directly into Arlington Creek and associated tributaries," she said.                    

Boyce said the JEA had the project reviewed by outside agencies.   "Throughout construction (several times per month), the city of Jacksonville Environmental Quality Division and St. Johns River Water Management District reviewed JEA's erosion and storm water sedimentation controls," said Boyce.  

"It was determined that the contractor used all the appropriate sedimentation and erosion controls required.  No formal enforcement was ever taken by either entity," she added.  

Boyce added that it is a naturally silting creek. "It is important to note that there is a difference between turbidity and sedimentation; as turbidity is discoloration of storm water runoff creating cloudiness, while sedimentation is the disposition of solid material within a waterway," she said. 

Lester's only other recourse is to take the JEA to court. 

 

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