Answers sought after toxins found in soil of NW Jacksonville neighborhood

Residents rally after workers fenced in area

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Community members are demanding answers from the city after toxins were found in the soil of their Northwest Jacksonville neighborhood.

News4Jax has covered the story of residents at Fairway Oaks fighting to get repairs to what they call poorly-built homes. The community was built by the city and Habitat for Humanity on top of a former city dump.

Complaints include cracked stabs, sinking, mold and termites.

On Saturday, those living in the area rallied after workers placed a fence around an area they said contains higher-than-normal levels of arsenic.

Records obtained by one of the residents and shared with News4Jax show the city plans to remove the toxic soil and replace it with fresh, clean soil.

But now, neighbors want to know what is being done to keep them safe while the dirt is being dug up and if the toxins from the soil is spread into the air.

"When I came up here on Wednesday and spoke with the manager and housing authority, she said the city told them they were going to level off the land," homeowners association president Nathaniel Borden said. "So, I said, 'They aren't specific about why they're leveling off the land or what they're going to be doing?' And she said 'No,' They just told her they were going to level off the land."

"We have hundreds of kids that actually live down here in Fairway Oaks," Borden added. "We have an elementary school on the corner and, basically, these kids walk through here on a daily basis."

Borden also shared with News4Jax an email between him and Brian Durden with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. In the email, Durden said, "prohibitive barriers and dust control methods will be used by the contractor" during the removal of the arsenic soil.