I-TEAM: Pottsburg Creek back to normal after sewage overflow, JEA says

90,000 gallons of raw sewage overflowed into creek on Jan. 16

Pottsburg Creek (Copyright 2022 by WJXT News4JAX - All rights reserved.)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Pottsburg Creek is back within state environmental standards following a sewage overflow, a JEA manager said Tuesday.

The creek, popular for boating and rowing, runs directly into the St. Johns River on Jacksonville’s Southside.

The News4JAX I-TEAM has been reporting on environmental concerns since Jan. 16 when a sewer bypass line at the JEA lift station on Holiday Road failed. It caused roughly 90,000 gallons of raw sewage to overflow on the property and the adjacent creek.

JEA officials said they responded immediately and began flushing the affected areas with fresh water, as well as treating the soil with lime.

While levels were initially higher than allowed by the Florida Department of Environmental Standards, JEA reported on Tuesday that sampling of nearby water bodies reflected normal, appropriate levels.

After the spill, JEA confirmed to the I-TEAM that a number of contractors were working on upgrading the sewer pump station, which is located between homes in a neighborhood on Holiday Road.

Utility workers did not confirm the name of the contractors involved in the incident.

JEA sent an email to nearby residents letting them know the creek’s bacteria levels were back at acceptable levels. In the message, JEA outlined the work being done at the site:

  • Installing new equipment to increase water treatment output.
  • Cleaning, modifying and repurposing of the existing process facility to support the new systems.
  • Replacing all valving and piping, and upgrading the electrical components of the plant.
  • Installing larger pumps and an emergency generator to help reduce or eliminate the occurrence of future sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs).
  • Installing a new communications system to monitor the equipment and back-up generator.
  • Installing a new, modern, odor control system that will greatly reduce odor from the facility.
  • New security fencing around the site (JEA standard of chain link fence with black slats).

It’s not the first time a sewage overflow occurred in the area. In 2016, JEA confirmed 1.1 million gallons of sewage spilled into the creek during and after Hurricane Matthew.

Some neighbors said they wanted more oversight and safety measures in place to protect nearby waterways and the environment.

About the Author:

Lifetime Jacksonville resident anchors the 8 and 9 a.m. weekday newscasts and is part of the News4Jax I-Team.