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Residents turn to I-TEAM to stop year-long water leak in neighborhood

Homeowner says neither JEA nor city of Jacksonville would fix problem

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Homeowners in a Southside neighborhood turn to the I-TEAM for help, fed up with a persistent, odorous water leak.

Residents living on Kennedy Court in the Englewood area told us for a year now, water has been bubbling up from the ground, streaming in front of their homes and then flowing into a storm drain.

It smells, it's slimy and green, and they claim despite contacting JEA and the city of Jacksonville multiple times, neither took responsibility to fix this 24-hour-a-day leak. Neighbors estimate millions of gallons of water has been wasted in the process.

"Why did you call the I-TEAM?" we asked a Kennedy Court resident, who asked not to be identified.

"Because I couldn't get nobody else to come look at it," he said.

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He showed us wet sludge that he says has been growing for 12 months along his street. A closer look reveals the running water is coming from deep in the ground, running down the curb and then passing three different homes before the water -- that's collected algae and bacteria -- flows into a nearby storm drain. 

'It smells like sewage at times and you just want to know what it is. I've got grandchildren out here who ride their bike out here. They have to go through this to get to the street," he said.

The resident said he contacted JEA and the city of Jacksonville at least four times, and each time said they refused to take responsibility and fix it.

"JEA pointed the finger at the city and the city says it's not their problem, they don't have a drain off thing right here," he said.  

Another neighbor, Sandra Tomlinson, said the leaking water has her worried about her family's health and safety.

"It's definitely a nuisance. It's up and down the street, and I mean it's gross," Tomlinson said. "There's no telling what's in there. My kids are out here playing in the yard and everything."

Shortly after speaking with impacted residents and seeing the flow of water ourselves, we contacted JEA and the city to find out who is responsible. Within hours, JEA crews arrived at Kennedy Court to dig up the dirt.

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A  spokesperson emailed the I-TEAM stating in part, "...JEA crews identified a 3/4 inch 'pin hole' leak…"  and "...although the leak was small, it was causing water to flow...The crews were able to quickly fix the leak."

The JEA spokesperson went on to tell us that crews also dug in another area, but didn't find anything conclusive. 

As for the city, a spokesperson followed up with us as well stating, "Per Public Works, the City of Jacksonville does not have an underdrain presence in this location." 

The I-TEAM went back to Kennedy Court the next day, and the flowing water had finally stopped -- after a year of water waste. 

"I can only imagine whoever is having to pay for all this water that's been coming out of this ground, is not going to be happy about it once they realize they've been paying  won't be happy with it when they find out they've been paying for it for the last year," said Tomlinson. 

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It appears this was JEA's issue from the start, and the utility is now making moves towards a permanent fix.

The spokesperson said JEA will follow up within the next two weeks with affected neighbors. They also have scheduled a pipe upgrade, which will lessen the possibility of future leaks.

Our I-TEAM is dedicated to getting results, so if you see something that needs investigating take a video or picture and text it to 479-NEWS or email it to ITEAM@News4jax.com.


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