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Fast Food giant promises to clean river mess

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Updated: 12/28/2013 11:44 pm
YULEE, Fla. -- A semitruck carrying produce crashed in Yulee, spilling trash and vegetables on the road and into a creek. Boaters asked why why no one cleaned it up after nearly a week. After Action News got involved, officials with Burger King promised to clean up the mess.

Drive along Interstate 95 near mile marker 371, the stench of rotting onions can be smelled from a few feet away and lettuce in clearly marked Burger King boxes cover much of the ground.

The site was enough to stop Ann and Bobby Harris, who frequent the area to fish.

"I was shocked when I first saw it," said Bobby Harris.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, on Dec. 21 a semitruck full of produce crashed, causing the spill.

The Department of Environmental Protection said hard debris like metal and transport palettes were already recovered but on Friday, some of the produce had washed down the creek.

"It affects me a lot. I can't get up in here and fish. What you see here is three or four times backed up in the river," said Bobby Harris.

According to the DEP, the responsible party is McEntire Produce based in Columbia, S.C. The company owns the semitruck involved in the crash.

Bobby Harris said he worries about the impact to the environment if the plastic bags and boxes aren't cleaned up soon.

"The produce ain't so bad to the water but the plastic and boxes is going to be here for 20 years or more," said Bobby Harris.

The Department of Environmental Protection sent Action News this statement:

"This is a solid waste issue, not a hazardous waste concern.  As such, while recovering this material is certainly desired and proper disposal important, there is no immediate threat.  Recovery will be conducted and completed as soon as it can safely and feasibly be done."

The DEP said McEntire Produce is working on securing a cleaning company. Once one is secured, DEP says work to clean the creek will begin but it gave no specific timeline as to when that will happen.
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