As The Florida Independent reported over the weekend, several species of fish in two Jacksonville-area waterways were recently found to contain some very dangerous pollutants. Today, the Duval County Department of Health officially issued a fish-consumption advisory for largemouth bass, blue tilapia, and striped mullet in Hogan Creek and Longbranch tributaries:
The advisory recommends that people should not eat largemouth bass and striped mullet from Hogan Creek due to their contamination with polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). In addition, largemouth bass and blue tilapia from Long Branchshould not be consumed due to pesticide (dieldrin) contamination. The concentration of contaminants found in the mentioned fish species from these creeks could pose a health concern for the people who eat them.
The affected area is near what would have been labeled a “Superfund” site due to heavy contamination, but disagreements between the city and state got in the way.
“We were evaluating that site in our Superfund program around 2010, but the Florida Department of Environmental Protection Agency wanted to have another chance to work with the City on an agreement to get the site cleaned up,” writes the EPA’s Barbara Alfano in an email. “We gave them that opportunity to try to negotiate a cleanup agreement. So we did not designate the site a National Priorities List site. However, we may be re-evaluating it again since the City and the State were not able to come to an agreement.”
The area was home to a gas plant in the 1800s, and remnants of coal tar still remain in the ground — and, more than likely, in the groundwater making its way into the creek.