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Boaters concerned water bottles from trailer in river are polluting river

Trailer knocked into river during crash on Dames Point Bridge last month

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The trailer of a big rig that went over the edge of the Dames Point Bridge the Friday before Christmas remains in the water more than a month later, and now its load of water bottles is seeping into the river. Boaters are concerned the bottles will pollute the St. Johns River and harm marine life.

Jacksonville boat captain Lee Bowman was out on the river fishing when he came across the trailer and saw its contents of bottles spilling out.

“Water bottles were all over the place, inside the trailer and starting to float out of it,” he said.

He said it’s a major concern for the local environment, so he spent Sunday morning picking up hundreds of water bottles from the river around the trailer

Bowman posted pictures of the mess on Facebook, including some close-up shots of the load inside the trailer. The post has been shared more than 1,100 times on social media.

“I’m really glad it’s getting as much exposure as it is, and more for the reason that I want to see something done about it,” Bowman said. “I want to see it cleaned up.”

Bowman said he and a few friends went to secure the back door of the trailer to avoid more plastic bottles getting into the river.

"I’ve got kids that I want to raise up fishing in the area, and I don’t want this plastic and trash in the river any more than anybody else does," Bowman said.

Bowman said he and his friends ended up using power from his boat to push the container door shut.

“Once we did that, we took the net and we started just doing some big circles in the area and picking up everything we could find."

He said the door is strapped shut for now, but he wants to see a permanent solution to ensure the river stays clear of plastic and other debris. 

Florida Highway Patrol Sgt. Dylan Bryan told News4Jax on Monday that the Highway Patrol is currently working with multiple agencies to have the debris removed from the river. 

According to FHP, state agencies are coordinating with a wrecker company to have the trailer removed. 

About the Authors:

Florida-born multi-media journalist pays special attention to issues in St. Johns County.