Rains cause nearly 300K gallons of sewage to overflow

Spills reported in Arlington, Southside areas after heavy rainfall

By Kent Justice - Anchor/reporter, News4Jax.com Staff

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Nearly 300,000 gallons of raw sewage spilled in the Jacksonville area after heavy rainfall over the weekend, according to state officials.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection reported three separate spills at JEA lift stations because of the rainfall.

Approximately 200,000 gallons of raw sewage was released from a Southside lift station at 10477 Bradley Road, near St. Johns Bluff Road, and spilled into a nearby storm drain that leads into Ginhouse Creek.

IMAGES: Sewage spills caused by heavy rainfall

Another 90,000 gallons of raw sewage was released from a Grove Park lift station at 7834 Holiday Road South and spilled into nearby Pottsburg Creek.

Charlie Gay, who lives next to the Grove Park lift station, had nothing but compliments for the city-owned utility agency, noting crews responded quickly and had tough work to do. 

"They've been on top of it because they've had trucks out here all night long -- pumping that thing, getting it down, hauling it out," Gay told News4Jax on Monday. "They've been pulling it out of here, so I ain't complaining. They've been doing their job."

And 500 gallons of raw sewage overflowed from an Arlington manhole at 1030 Mill Creek Road, not far from the Regency Square Mall. That sewage spilled into Strawberry Creek.

Officials said all three spills have been cleaned up.

JEA spokeswoman Gerri Boyce said the spills were the result of localized flooding from the heavy rains.

"These situations can cause direct inflow to JEA manholes causing unusual sewer system floods," Boyce said in an email. "JEA crews responded immediately upon notification."

In October, Hurricane Matthew led to more than 7.5 million gallons of raw sewage leaking into the St. Johns River after more than 70 JEA lift stations lost power and failed. After that, the utility's CEO, Paul McElroy, said JEA would evaluate what went wrong and how it would improve. 

The recent overflows were not related to electrical failures, Boyce said, but were due to flash flooding inundating streets.

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