JACKSONVILLE, Fla.-- An Action News investigation is revealing how major deadlines were missed in the fight to keep the St. Johns River clean.
This week Action News first told you about the new algae concerns in the St. Johns River. Testing came back showing there are toxic levels, but we found out the city of Jacksonville isn't doing its part to keep the river algae-free.
We found a warning letter from the state Department of Environmental Protection dating back to June. It says the city needed to come up with a plan to cut down on dumping nutrients into the water that lead to toxic algae growth.
"I'm not sure the city of Jacksonville totally understands their obligation," said Quinton White.
White is a marine science professor at Jacksonville University. According to the DEP letter, the city committed to develop a plan in 2008. But since then, it has missed deadlines in 2010 and 2011. Only this week, did White receive the city's response to the state, saying there is finally a plan to help keep the river healthy. It includes projects along McCoy's Creek, for example.
The city told Action News, "The St. Johns River is a community treasure and the city of Jacksonville is committed to its good health. We have responded to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) with a draft conceptual plan. After additional coordination with DEP, our water quality trading partners, and the city finance team, we will develop a final plan to help bolster the well being of our beautiful St. Johns River."
This isn't the only plan to help get rid of the algae. Some of the high nutrients come from dumping near Central Florida. That's why the state has also obligated $6.5 million for new hybrid wetland treatment. Neither is a quick fix.
A spokesman for the DEP tells us the agency is still reviewing the city's current proposal it received just three days ago to see if it meets the state requirements.