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Health dept. investigation gets attention of JEA

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – After News4Jax broke a story about a Jacksonville business that was found to be illegally dumping sewage, the investigation into Floaters Portable Sanitation is now getting the attention of JEA.

This comes after Floaters received a letter of warning from the Duval County Health Department. That letter came after News 4 Jax took the health department photos obtained from a whistleblower that showed evidence of wrongdoing.

Floaters maintains this is all a misunderstanding, but Tuesday, JEA said they are doing their "due diligence" in light of the health department's investigation. JEA is looking into whether or not Floaters was using JEA's sewer lines and dumping without a permit to avoid paying required fees.

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The evidence that prompted the health department and JEA investigations are photos from a whistleblower showing workers with Floaters offloading sewage and septic holding tank waste water down a drain meant only for RV waste, in downtown Jacksonville near Talleyrand.

Time stamps show the employees using several different trucks and offloading waste more than a dozen times over two weeks in July in August.

The problem is that the dump station they are putting waste down is only permitted for private RV's to use and only during special events like the Georgia/Florida football game or Florida Country Superfest.

The Duval County Health Department said it was never constructed to allow commercial companies like Floaters to dump commercial waste, and when health department officials called Floaters about these pictures, they said the company was forthcoming.

"Because this is a first offense, they are going to receive a letter of warning, and that is notification to that company of what is right and what is not right," Scott Turner, the Environmental Director for Florida Department of Health in Duval County, said.

The issue for JEA comes from the fact that the sewer lines Floaters was accessing connect to their sewer lines.

JEA charges a fee to dump waste into it's sewer system, and JEA said they have no records providing access to Floaters, which could mean missed money in unpaid fees.

Tuesday, JEA said they were looking into the issue saying, "We are continuing our due diligence in light of DOH's investigation to understand the location and quantity of waste Floaters has been discharging at A-1 (Waste Management)."

Tuesday, News 4 Jax obtained from a source the manifest from A-1 Waste Management for Floaters. We're told these are some of the records that JEA has obtained. These records show Floaters discharged waste at their approved facility four times in June and only three times in July.

But by August, when News4Jax started asking questions, the company recorded dumping there 20 times.

Those discharges begin on Aug. 12, two days after Channel 4 alerted the health department and began our investigation.

Sources said that for September, workers have been at the approved dump site 38 different times to dump waste.

News4Jax has reached out to floaters for comment on the record several times but have not received a response so far.

The health department confirmed to News 4 Jax that Floaters is only permitted to dump at A-1 Waste Management. In addition, a representative from Floaters said on Friday that this misunderstanding has stretched all the way back to 2013, so it is unclear how long this may have been going on or how much money in unpaid fees JEA could be looking into during their review.
 


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