• Hurricane Matthew debris pile a growing concern in St. Johns County

    By: Beth Rousseau, Action News Jax

    Updated:

    A growing pile of storm trash has neighbors not only concerned about the view but their health as well.  Construction debris is sitting just blocks away from a neighborhood and has shut down Frank Butler Boat Ramp.

    “There’s a lot of concern about the people who live around here because they love this river,” said Matanzas Riverkeeper Neil Armingeon.

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    According to Armingeon, St. Johns County is using the site as a staging area for Hurricane Matthew debris. The riverkeeper said that could cause a problem for the nearby estuaries and salt marshes. Area residents were thrilled when the debris was removed from their streets, until they realized it was being taken just feet away from Intracoastal waters.

    “I don’t think anybody had any idea that this pile was there. … I would have assumed it was going to one of the several dumps that was west and already an established landfill. … Why did they choose this location?” said Butler Beach resident Dawn Sullivan.

    That’s what Action News Jax asked St. Johns County. According to their response, the location allowed for quicker removal than any of the county’s three landfills or recycling facilities. They also attached an inspection from the Department of Environmental Protection saying the debris, which is inspected daily, is not impacting the river.

    It could be December before the debris is transported to the landfills. Until then, Armingeon says they’ll continue working with the county to protect the waterway. 

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